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Carleton, Publisher, Madison Square. 


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern 
District of New York. 

Stereotyped at 

Eighth Street and Avenue A, 
New York. 





|O naturally kind-hearted and bertevolelit 
person can even after years' experience 
with the beggars, grinders and sweep- 
ers who crowd the streets of New York become 
sufficiently inured to destitution and misery to 
pass, without notice, their pitiful faces and out- 
stretched hands. Now I, in common with many 
others, have been acquainted with these appeals 
for several years, and have not, after continued 
and systematic fleecing, become so hardened or 
so sensible that my heart does not ache an hour 
after, when I have from inability to afford relief, 
or from a determination to bestow my mite where 



I am sure it will be well used and appreciated 
passed without notice. 

1 f In a walk from Ifearl to Eighth, the other day 
orir-afher 9 ii%'a\ QO&femplated walk, for I did not 

thaVpccasion I decided to speak 
"to" every "beggar" 'who' accosted me, and discover, if 
possible, what especial phase of poverty was re- 
presented by each. Not that my pocket was 
especially long at that time, or myporte monnaie 
unusually full, not at all ; but some information 
might be gained by such a process that could not 
be obtained in any other manner ; and then, if 
my search was rewarded by really worthy objects, 
I could, by the assistance of charitable friends, se^e 
that they were provided for. I thought to walk a 
block without being accosted ; but, on the steps of 
the Central National Bank sat a little woe-begone 
bundle of rags, which upon rising and advancing 
toward me, I found to be of the feminine gender. 
My weakness has always been for this description 
of sufferers, and, consequently, there was no lack 
of sympathy. 

" Well, my dear, what do you want ? " I asked 
kindly of the little one, whose eyes shone out as 


bright as stars on a frosty night from the mass of 
curly, unkempt hair which surrounded a face 
made prematurely old by this conflict with sin and 

"Don't dear me," said she, almost fiercely. 
"I got enough of that at the Mission. 'Dear 
child,' ' good child,' ' trust in the Lord, child,' 
with a bundle of tracts, and no dinner," she con- 
tinued, ironically. 

"Where do you live, my child?" I asked this 
time careful of my adjectives. 

"I ain't your child, nor nobody's child, nor 
God's child; and I hadn't anything to do with 
being made, no more than that old horse had; 
and nobody need tell me that there is a good 
Father who loves his children; 'tain't no such 
thing. Do you suppose, if I was the Lord, I'd 
starve poor folks to death that I made myself \ " 
and the eager eyes looked into my face, the desire 
to reconcile apparent incongruities being stronger, 
for the moment, than her desire for good. Here 
was a poser. How could I talk to the suffering 
child of faith ? How could I tell her that God 
loveth whom he chasteneth, and that the more she 


endured, the greater was God's care and affection 
for her ? So I simply said : 

" Such things have troubled me a great deal ; 
but I cannot explain to you, here, what I do think 
on these subjects. You are suffering; you are 
hungry and cold ; now tell me about yourself. 
Perhaps I can do you some good. Have you a 
father living ?" 

" No ! " and the eyes took on a wondering look. 
" I don't think I ever had a father." 

" And your mother ? " 

" Oh, I've got one of them ; but she's no good." 

" No good" said I ; " what do you mean \ " and 
I tried to put a little sternness into my voice and 
manner ; but she took no notice. 

" She stays out all night, and sleeps and cries 
all day; sometimes she brings home something to 
eat, and more times the doesn't ; but I tell you" 
and now her eyes flashed fire "she never for- 
gets to bring something to drink." 

"Where do you live?" 

" Round here in Mulberry street." 

" Will you take me to your mother ? " 

" What, with those good clothes on ? I guess 


not ? " And the strange child laughed merrily as 
she glanced at my plain street-dress, which was to 
her purple and fine linen. Upon assuring her 
that I was not at all afraid, she led the way to 
her miserable home. 

" There she is," said the little girl, pointing to 
a figure lying on a bundle of straw in the corner. 

" Mother, here is a lady come to see you ; wake 
up a minute ; " accompanying her words with a 
brisk shaking. 

" A lady ! " and the figure, by no means as in- 
animate as it appeared, arose and confronted me. 
Such a pair of coal-black eyes, and such a pallid 
face, I never saw in my life before. No tigress 
ever looked fiercer and 110 woman more beauti- 
ful when she discovered I had come in all friend- 
liness to be of service, if possible. 

" Don't be angry, mamma," said the girl ; " the 
lady hasn't got a single tract" 

" This is no place for you, madam, and it is im- 
possible for you to do me any good," was her 
greeting, in clear, ringing tones. 

" Your little girl is very thinly clad," I ven- 
tured to remark, glancing significantly at some 


trumpery hanging round, which was evidently 
worn by the woman on her midnight rambles. 

" Then you think the mother dresses better 
than the child ? " she inquired, smiling disdain- 
fully. "Those clothes get her all the bread she 
eats. Now I suppose you understand my profes- 

" Perfectly," I replied, trying to repress all 
emotion. "And if you are satisfied with that 
profession, I have no more to say. But your 
little girl ? " 

"Ah, you would like to take her away, I sup- 
pose ; get her a place at service, maybe is that 
your game ? But you don't do it, madam," she 
interrupted, excitedly. " Perhaps you think I 
don't love her perhaps I don't ; but you just 
try to wrench her away from me, and then see. 
Mary, come here." 

" I am not afraid of this lady, mother. I would 
like to go with her. I don't like. to stay here all 
alone nights with rats and mice, and then have 
you drink out of that bottle all day. Oh, Mrs. ! 
if you would only get me a suit of boy's clothes 
somewhere! I could earn lota of money. I'd 


black gentlemen's boots and nobody'd know ; but 
I can't do anything with these duds. However 
came I to be a nasty, good-for-nothing girl, 
mother ? I tell you, Mrs., boys can do a heap ! " 

I looked from that child to the parent, noted 
the same broad foreheads, and intellectual coun- 
tenances, and wondered if any influence could 
reclaim the mother and preserve the child. 

"I do not wish to be impertinent, and pry 
into affairs which are none of my concern," I 
ventured, at last, " but I am interested in your 
history. "Won't you please tell me something of 
yourself, and how you came here, for I per- 
ceive you have not always lived in this squalid 

She hesitated a moment. Then, offering me 
her only stool, said : 

"I will, and will tell the truth, too. Sit 


STRANGE kind of smile illumined 
the wan features for a moment as 
she looked into my face, which must have 
expressed every shade of feeling from that which 
the countenance of our blessed Saviour indicated 
to that of shrinking and terror, as the dreadful 
squalidness of the place, and my apparently un- 
protected condition, came home to me. 

" You are not used to such scenes as these," she 
said. " Do not be in the least alarmed : you are 
just as safe in this tumble-down old shanty in 
Five Points as you would be in many places on 
aristocratic, stylish Fifth avenue. According to 
my views, there isn't much difference in the crime 
committed in the two places. "Women there have 
their paramours and affinities. The man next 
door courts his neighbor's wife while the other 
fellow trips the light fantastic with still another 



man's property. Children are conceived, some of 
them legitimately, but children are troublesome 
comforts, and 110 fashionable woman, wishes to be 
bothered with an increasing family ! So Dr. So- 
and-so, who lives in close contiguity, and most 
sumptuously, is called. The result an abortion ; 
and the murderer pockets his big fee, and keeps 
on his work of destruction. These babies will all 
confront their unnatural mothers one of these 
days in the other country and, madam," clutch- 
ing my arm with the grip of a mad woman, " I'd 
rather be Mary Montgomery then than one of 
these. What do you say ? " 

" There is no mistake, my dear," said I, endeav- 
oring to be calm, "that infanticide is one of the 
most terrible and glaring evils possible to conceive 
of ; but the scandalous behavior of women in 
high life does not remove one iota of your sin or 
mine, or make it any less in the sight of God." 

" That's so," she continued thoughtfully. " But 
some way it eases one's soul occasionally to make 
such comparisons. Think of it as you may, it is 

a relief, when Mrs. Gen. or Capt. passes 

one like me, drawing away her skirt as she does 



so, as if the slightest touch were contamination, 
to think, madam, your stock won't be worth as 
much as mine in the great by-and-by." 

The woman stopped a moment, closed her eyes, 
as if to shut out some crushing memories, and the 
little bundle of rags the child with the sweet 
and wonderfully intelligent face, crept close to 
my side. 

"Say, Mrs.," said she softly, "please to tell me 
what these things are for," pointing with her little 
red linger to the miserable surroundings. 

"What things?" I asked, while the bunch in 
my throat grew bigger and tears iilled my eyes. 

"Why is all this badness? and this dreadful 
cold room ? and these rags, and mother's head- 
aches and crying? I don't like 'em; they don't 
agree with me ; and I can't bear these clothes. I 
never was clean and nice; and what is it all for? 
Why mayn't I have good things, and why mayn't 
mother stop staying out nights, and drinking out 
of that black bottle? /never did nothing to no- 
body; what does God punish me for?" 

I have been nonplussed many a time with the 
questions of my own little ones, but never was my 


theology so thoroughly squelched before ; and I 
only answered, " My poor child ! I do not wonder 
that you ask these questions ; but I am utterly un- 
able to give you any light." 

How could I make that poor persecuted 
babe understand that God loveth whom he 
chasteneth? No, indeed. I didn't attempt it; 
for in the heaviest of my own afflictions, that 
and kindred passages failed to give me the least 
satisfaction. I make this statement with due 
reverence, for I honestly believe that God is at 
the helm, and will bring things out all right one 
of these days. But why the innocent should suf- 
fer for the guilty will take more light and grace 
than I ever expect to attain to in this world to 
either explain or reconcile. 

" I w r ant to tell you of myself," said the hollow- 
eyed woman, breaking in upon a solemn pause, 
and fondly stroking the little one's curls. "Now, 
Mary, you go and sit with old Mother Thurston 
while I talk to this lady." 

The child obeyed only saying as she went out 
" Please call me before this lady goes ; I want 
to see her again." 


" My name is Mary Montgomery," she contin- 
ued, looking into her lap. " I was born in Phila- 
delphia, of American parents, and very respect- 
able parents, too. They are both dead now, 
thank God. I was well brought up, well edu- 
cated, and quite accomplished. These hands," 
holding up her attenuated lingers, " do not remind 
one very forcibly of Beethoven's sonatas, or Mo- 
zart's symphonies, yet they could manage them 
all once. I wonder if I could play a single tune 
now? My father and mother never seemed to 
love me at least as I wanted to be loved. They 
were never demonstrative. My first impression 
of my mother was her iciness, and the extreme 
formality of my father in all matters of social in- 
tercourse. At seventeen I had never been in the 
society of young men at all. My father would 
not consent to an evening party, a dance, or to 
the least mingling with the terrible class of which 
he made one. One afternoon, returning from my 
aunt's, I strayed into Chestnut street and stole an 
hour's walk, as I had done many times before. As 
I stood looking into a book-store, I felt that some 
one stood beside me, and was conscious that a 


gentleman was examining my features attentively. 
I turned with the intention of saying something 
sharp and saucy but his pleasant and respectful 
expression speedily drove that idea from my 
mind. Without the least reserve he said : 

" ' Here we have all the poets, and most daz- 
zlingly arrayed too. Which of the number do 
you prefer ? ' enumerating the authors, 

" It seemed very proper and natural for me to 
answer him. So after a little conversation con- 
cerning our favorites, he walked with me until 
within a block of my house, when I bade him 
good afternoon. During our conversation, I had 
given him my name and some idea of my life, 
and had promised to meet him the next day, in 
front of the book-store in Chestnut street. A 
few interviews, and the man had declared his love, 
and I had confessed mine. It would never do to 
mention this to my parents. I should have been 
immediately confined in my own room, with no 
prospect of ever seeing my lover again during 
the term of my natural life. So we continued to 
meet stealthily. At last, he proposed a secret 
marriage, saying that he would take me to New 


York, and, after the ceremony was performed, 
we could plead for the forgiveness and blessing 
of my parents. I agreed to that also. Oh! I 
loved him so, that I would have sunk my soul in 
the lowest depths of the inferno to have given 
him pleasure! and oh, my God, how I love him 
this minute ! how I love him ! how I love him ! 
Excuse me, these exhibitions are not interesting to 
you," and then continued. " I left my home one 
day with nothing save the clothes I had on. We 
took a train to New York then a carriage from 
the depot to some minister's house and were mar- 
ried. After that to a hotel, where we remained 
for a few days, and then my husband took me 
home. Oh, and wasn't it home ? Everything that 
money could buy was lavished upon that house ; 
and as I crept into his arms, after a careful ex- 
amination of every nook and corner, I thanked 
God from the bottom of my heart that I had 
found so good and loving a husband." 


|H! my dear lady," she said, "there 
never was such happiness since the bliss 
Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden of 
Eden as we experienced for more than a year. 
My husband often remained away from me all 
night, telling me that business compelled him ; 
but he would inyariably make it up by remaining 
by my side the greater portion of the succeeding 
day. I had no care, no responsibility. Life was 
love, and love was life. I ate it, drank it, feasted 
upon it, revelled in it. In short, I bowed down 
before my idol and worshipped him. One year 
passed, and my Mary was born, the little girl 
who brought you here." 

" The child of honest wedlock, then ? " I inter- 
rupted, and without thinking. 

"Oh don't, madam as I supposed; as I be- 
lieved;" she replied distractedly. " But wait 


until I finish. Please don't anticipate, or I shall 
never have strength enough left to finish the 
sickening details. She was a darling baby and 
her father was so fond of her. I used sometimes 
to grow jealous of the caresses lavished upon her. 
I used to wonder why my husband never took 
me to parties, and why we never received com- 
pany like other families in upper-tendom, and 
why he always chose the evenings to take me out 
for a walk or drive, and I would occasionally 
express to him my astonishment at the way our 
domestic programme was arranged. lie always 
replied after this style : < Is my little wife dis- 
satisfied ? If so, I will invite half New York to 
entertain her. It is because I love her so, that, 
buried in my own heart, I desire to satisfy her 
with what she finds there.' 

" "We read and sung, and sketched, and petted 
baby, with no cloud to disturb our serenity. By- 
and-by it came without a single gust of prepara- 
tion. My husband generally returned to me 
about three in the afternoon. One day he was a 
little later than usual, and just as I was going 
down to the dining-room to see that everything 


was in order for dinner, I found that the servant 
was admitting visitors into the hall. This was so 
rare that I stopped to see who was coming. 

u ' Does Mrs. live here ? ' mentioning my 

name I heard a lady ask in low tones. 

" < She does, madam ; will you please walk into 
the parlor'?' the servant replied. 

<c I drew back into the library and waited for 
her to enter. It might be my mother, I thought, 
to whom I had written for forgiveness several 
times, but never had received an answer. Im- 
agine my surprise, when a lady, elegantly 
dressed, followed by a nurse carrying an infant, 
swept by into the drawing-room. I immediately 
passed in after them. 

" 'Mrs. , I suppose,' said the lady, with a 

look of unutterable scorn upon her handsome 

" ' Yes, madam,' I replied. c Whom have I the 
honor of addressing ? ' 

"'Not the least consequence, Mrs. ; I 

have business with your husband.' 

"'I am expecting him in every moment,' I 
replied. ' Please make yourself comfortable.' 


" Just then the nurse brought my babe to the 
door. She was then about six months old, just 
able to sit up alone. The other babe was appar- 
ently about the same age. I placed my darling 
on the carpet, and held out my hands to the 
other little one. She came to me in a moment, 
held up her cherry lips for a kiss, and I removed 
her cap and cloak, and placed her beside mine. 
Oh ! merciful Father ! they were as alike as two 
roses from the same stem. But even then I was 

" f llow do you account, madam,' said the 
woman in tones cold and polished as glittering 
steel, < for the remarkable resemblance between 
these two children?' 

" They were both dressed in white, with blue 
sashes and sleeve trimmings. I did not at first 
reply, but laughingly removed my chain from 
my watch-guard, and. slipped it around the neck 
of my Mary, saying, as I did so, i I will place a 
mark on mine to distinguish her, else, I fear, we 
shall hardly be able to tell them apart. ' Pretty 
soon I heard my husband's night-key, and in a 


second Ms voice, singing the old Scotch ballad 
(he always sang as he entered .the house), 

" * Oh, Mary is my darling, my darling, my darling, 
Oh ! where in the world is my darling 
That I do not find her here ? ' 

"'My husband has come,' said I. *I will 
bring him to you.' 

'" There is a lady in the parlor for you,' I 
said, and flew to his embrace. 

"*"A lady!' he repeated in a strange whis- 
per. 'You are joking, dear,' but an awful pale- 
ness overspread his face. ' Tell her I am not in ; 
that's a gqpd little wife. How come she to be 
admitted ? ' but before I could leave the hall, the 
fury was upon him. 

" ' Oh ! ' said she, calling him by his right name. 
You see, my dear lady, I had never known it. 
' Did you think to keep on deceiving me in this 
style? Come here and look;' and clutching him 
furiously by the arm, she almost dragged him in- 
to the parlor. The two babies began to crow and 
laugh, clapping their tiny hands in their delight 
at seeing him. Oh, my wasn't that fearful! 


and as he threw himself into a chair near them 
in a perfect agony of despair, the little darlings, 
determined that he should notice them, played 
with his feet, and finally, failing to attract his 
attention, commenced to cry piteously. I did 
not then comprehend the depth of the dreadful 
affair; and taking the infants from the carpet I 
placed one on each knee of the man I had called 
husband. He pressed them both to his bosom 
for a moment, saying as he did so, ' Mary, you 
have killed me.' 

"'But what does all this mean V I at last 
found breath to ask. 

"'It means, madam,' said the self -possessed 
woman, ' that that man is my lawful husband, 
and that child his legitimate offspring. It means 
that you are his mistress, and that babe the child 
of shame and lust.' 

"'You are a liar,' said I, springing towards 
her. c Unsay those dreadful words, or these hands 
will force an entrance to your black heart ; ' and 
God only knows what else, in my insane agony, I 
did say. 


" c Ask him if it is not so,' replied the woman, 
still cool and polished. 

" ' Mary,' said my my oh, yes my hus- 
band ; let me call him that once more. ' Curse 
me if you will. I am utterly unworthy a single 
thought. That woman, proud, overbearing and 
cold, I never loved, but she is just what she* repre- 
sents herself, my lawful wife 

" < And I I I am what ? ' I shrieked. 

" ( My darling/ he replied, ' my heart's choice ! 
but in the eyes of a cruel world just what she 
has told you ; my mistress. I loved you, Mary; 
your beauty and your innocence dazzled me. My 
heart was hungry for you, and I foolishly thought 
I could provide for all without being detected, 
but that bloodhound has traced me, and we are 
betrayed. I am oh, my a miserable wretch.' 

"'But our marriage' 

"'Was a farce. I was not man enough to 
attempt bigamy even.' " 


[AT did I do?" she repeated, as under 
my breath, my heart beating in sym- 
pathy for the poor narrator, I could 
not help asking. 

"Do ! I snatched my babe from the floor, and, 
with jnst a few articles of wearing apparel and a 
small sum of money, I left the house without an- 
other word ; left that cold, haughty woman still 
in the parlor; left the only person I loved on 
earth, except my little one. No one saw me go. 
I took the evening train for Philadelphia; went 
to my father's house at eleven o'clock at night ; 
found that my mother had died a few weeks 
previous. My father came stiffly into the parlor ; 
inquired what might be my business with him 
to transact it as quickly as possible, as he was in 
a hurry to close the house and retire. I told him, 
that I had brought my baby home to make a visit. 


Oh, I did so hope to soften his heart! The little 
one clapped her tiny hands, laughed up into his 
iron face, called him papa ! but he took no notice 
I then continued to ask him if he had one kind 
word for his daughter? 

"'Not one,' he replied, flying into an ungovern- 
able rage. ' Where is your keeper, madam, the 
father of that child?' he roared. 'If he be dead, 
I may, perhaps, for decency sake, tolerate you 
under my roof but that brat, never. Say 2' 
grasping my arm and shaking me fiercely 'yes 
or no ! Is he dead or living ? 

"'Living, father,' said I, 'and likely to live. I 
have come to you to-night for shelter. I have no 
other home. Do let me stay with you ? ' 

44 'When that child of disgrace and its damned 
parent are both in the grave, come to me, and I 
will feed and clothe you; but with those evi- 
dences of shame about you, never, never, never, 
BO help me God ! ' 

" Oh, how those memories madden me ! " said 
the woman, rising from her seat on the floor and 
pacing rapidly up and down a moment or two. 
" Sometimes, madam," she continued, her whole 


expression changing from the fierce, almost des- 
pairing look her face had all the time worn to 
one of weird and wonderful illumination ; " some- 
times, I hear my father's voice (he died, you see, 
only a few months after this), saying, 'Mary! 
Mary! my child, forgive me? I knew not what 
I did. Upon my soul rests your downfall!' I 
hear this voice in the night hear it in the 
day hear it when on my Broadway beat! It 
seeks me here, there, and everywhere ! < Forgive 
me, child ! Oh, forgive me ! ' 

"And you have forgiven him," I ventured to 
remark, through a blinding mist of tears. 

"Have I?" she replied, pausing in her walks, 
and looking me straight in the face with those 
wondrous eyes of hers. " Have I ? Perhaps you 
know more about it than I do ! " 

Aye, there was rebellion there. Rebellion in 
the curve of the lip, rebellion in the toss of the 
head, beautiful, even now, bowed down though 
it was with the weight of sin and shame. 

" Forgive him ! Who forgives me ? When 
Fifth avenue takes me by the hand ; when min- 
isters stop preaching of charity, and put some of 


it into practice ; when Christians remember that 
the only reprimand of Jesus to the fallen woman 
was ' Go, and sin no more,' then will I forgive the 
man who sent me and my baby to perdition. 
When do you suppose that will be? You can be 
gentle and kind to me, here. You dare let your 
tears fall now, that there is no one by to observe 
your weakness ; but suppose sometimes returning 
from opera or lecture, acompanied by your 
friends, you should meet me, do you think you 
would have a kind word for me then? No, 
indeed. You would pity me, I know, because 
you are naturally loving and sympathetic, but 
to go contrary to society's requirements and 
conventionalisms, you would not dare! I'll tell 
you what I will do. I will leave Fifth avenue 
and the rest of the world to their own devices, 
and promise this, since you are so earnest in 
regard to my most unnatural parent: I will 
forgive when you, with your select few, unex- 
pectedly meeting me, can say, ' Good evening, my 
friend ; I am glad to see you.' " 

"Then allow me to tell you," I replied, "that 
your father is forgiven, if forgiveness, which I 


certainly do not believe, can depend upon such 
contingencies for its evidences and expression. 
I should neither be ashamed nor afraid to speak 
to you, meet you under what circumstances I 
might. But I must certainly question your right 
to demand this. I sometimes fear that the pas- 
sage of Scripture where Jesus commands the one 
without sin to cast the first stone, has, from its 
singular perversion, done more harm than good." 
Those fierce eyes glared down into my soul ; but 
for the first time in my life I shrank not from 
giving pain. The surgeon probes deeply when 
he would discover the nature and depth of the 
wound he desires to heal, so I looked away for 
a moment from the glowing countenance and 
continued: "When Jesus forgave that erring 
woman, he said, c Go, and sin no more.' There 
was never a word in regard to her continuing in 
the paths of immorality, or the duty of the public 
towards one guilty of such persistence. "We are 
counselled, I admit, to a boundless charity; we 
are told to forgive seventy times seven ; but after 
all that, the public sentiment which denies to 
those guilty of transgressing human and divine 


laws the privileges of social life, is, in my estima- 
tion, a healthy one. Although I could and 
would accost you kindly under any and all cir- 
cumstances, yet you have no right to expect it, 
unless you change the whole current of your life, 
and dertermine to turn your back upon those 
unholy influences forever." 

I had said more than I intended, for it is never 
best to preach much to these sufferers; but as I 
continued, the fierce look fled from her eyes, and 
she replied honestly: 

"Well, I never thought of that before. To 
tell the truth, I never associated Jesus' forgive- 
ness with any idea of the cessation of sin." 

Now this may appear very singular to readers, 
that such construction should be placed by any 
intelligent person upon so apparently lucid a 
passage ; but I am free to say, after an extended 
observation, that nothing in the Bible has ever 
been so grossly misconstrued and acted upon as 

"I scarcely know," said she musingly, "whether 
I shall bless or curse the fate that sent you here 
to-day. One or the other, I assure you. I had 


tried so long to stop thinking, and had settled 
so many things to my satisfaction, now I shall be 
compelled to go all over the ground again. But, 
as I was saying," going back to her story again, 
" with my baby in my arms, at the hour of mid- 
night, cold and dark, I walked out of my father's 
house, and heard him carefully bolt the door as 
I walked off the marble stoop. A servant who 
had lived in our family for years, with whom I 
was a great favorite, followed me from the back 
entrance, took my little one, and led me to her 
sister's house, where I was comfortably cared for 
until the next day, when I left for New York, 
determined to fight out the battle of life here 
and I have." 


|HE winter sun slanted into the comfort- 
less room, reminding me that the day 
was almost spent, and the better plan 
was to leave and come again the next afternoon. 
She saw my glance and interpreted it aright. 

' Yes, you had better go now," said she, with 
a pained look. " Mary shall see you to Broad- 
way ; no one ever molests her." 

"And now," said I, "please tell me what 
you have in the house for your supper. And 
if there is not some way of making a cheerful 

" I have money enough," she replied, " to pro- 
cure everything we need to-night, and Mary will 
soon go to bed, so it will be of no use to make 
up any more fire." 

" And shall you retire with your little daugh- 
ter ? " I required, looking her straight in the eye. 


"Oh no!" she said, returning my glance 
unshrinkingly. " I have an engagement." 

The reader can imagine my feelings. Pity, 
sympathy, a desire to take the poor tempest- 
tossed woman in my arms and ;fly with her to 
some spot out of the reach of temptation, tilled 
my soul. My position was a delicate one. I 
realized of how much service would be a word 
fitly spoken ; and if ever I prayed in my life, I 
prayed then that I might be given, not only the 
right spirit,. but that which is often quite as 
essential, the right language in which to clothe 
this spirit of longing and sympathy. Many and 
many a person in their dealings with different 
classes of unfortunates, with as earnest a desire 
to be of service as ever burned in the soul of 
man or woman, have blundered fearfully in this 
respect, and, by some unlucky sentence, or appar- 
ently unfeeling interrogative have set impassable 
barriers between themselves and the objects of 
their interest. Providence spared me the neces- 
sity of assuming the initiative. As I stood 
wondering what it was best to say in what man- 
ner I could reach that part of her nature I most 
desired to reach, she remarked pleasantly : 


"Excuse me, madam, but I know what you 
are thinking about. I see it all in your eyes. 
You want me to promise that I will not go out 
to-night. Isn't that it ? " 

"Exactly," I replied, while that dreadful 
bunch in my throat grew (to coin a word) 

"Well," she resumed, ^1 promise, upon my 
word and honor, if you can believe in either, 
after all I have told you, that I will not step foot 
into the street this night ? " 

There was a touching wistf ulness in the tone 
which satisfied me that one victory had been 
achieved. I had won her loving confidence, and 
that under the circumstances seemed to me a 
wonderful stride in the right direction. Please, 
dear reader, do not think me foolishly egotistical 
in this little narrative. If I do not give you the 
particulars as they occurred (for this is no work 
of fiction), I shall not be able to make you 
thoroughly acquainted with my strange and 
fallen heroine. 

" You will excuse me, I know," she continued, 
" for being so bold, but please remember that no 


human being has spoken a kind word to me 
since since he did;" and here the woman 
broke down entirely, and buried her face in her 
hands, sobbing bitterly. Oh tears, blessed tears ! 
under such circumstances, a salvation. The 
fountains were opened, and she wept unre- 

"I thank you a thousand times for this first 
proof of your confidence," I ventured to say, 
striving to be calm. " I shall leave you now 
without fear, and will come again to-morrow 
about the same hour ; and now please call your 
little girl." The little child came with a dis- 
appointed look on her care-worn face, but she 
brightened up when she found she was to 
accompany me away and that I had promised to 
return on the morrow. 

"Mary," said I, as we reached the street, 
"your mother has promised not to go out to- 

"What?" said she, clasping her little hands 
and coming to a dead halt. " Won't that be 
nice ? I'll have a bully sleep to-night ! I guess 
there is a God, and I just guess He is good some- 


times There isn't anybody that feels good all 
the time, is there f " 

Upon questioning the little one as to eatables, 
fire, etc., I found that their living was prin- 
cipally bread and tea, and that the little gray- 
looking concern in the fireplace could be made 
to cook very nicely. "What would you like 
most to have for your supper, Mary, supposing 
you had the choice given you ?" I inquired. 

" Oh, meat ! " said she, " meat ! I believe 1 
could eat a whole cow." 

" Well then, meat you shall have," I replied, 
giving the child some change. " Go home and 
make a good fire, and have a good supper, and 
more than all, little one, try to believe that 
although there are hosts of things which none of 
us can understand, yet, if we do the best we can, 
as near right as we can, that we shall some day 
obtain our reward." 

" And you believe that ?" she queried, with a 
rare smile. 

" From the bottom of my heart," I made 


"Then I will try to," she replied. "But 


everything is so awful bad, and I'm so awful 
ragged and so awful dirty. I can't make that 
right, because I do like to look like other good 
folks, and have mother too ; but never mind, I 
will wait for you here to-morrow ;" and the little 
one, with a tight squeeze of my hand, ran quickly 
away, leaving me, wondering but thankful, once 
more on gay Broadway. Aye, friends, the 
wealth of the world could not purchase that 
day's experience. These words kept ringing in 
my ears, all the way home and the tune was a 
merry one "There is more joy in heaven over 
one sinner that repenteth than over ninety and 
nine just persons that need no repentance," and 
somehow (of course it was all imagination, but 
wonderfully pleasant) the faces of my dear, 
departed mother and father looked smilingly out 
of every cloud ; and a sweet voice seemed to 
whisper, " Inasmuch as ye do it unto one of the 
least of these," and what, in the world's estima- 
tion, could be of less consequence than an 
abandoned woman ? 

The next afternoon, at the appointed time, I 
met the little girl at the same place. The child's 


hair was nicely combed, and her hands and 
face as clean as soap and water could make 

" How is your mother ? " I asked. 

" Well, I dunno ? " she answered. " She cried 
dreadful hard, seems to me, most all night, but 
she looks real nice this afternoon." 

Sure enough, the room was nicely swept, a 
bright fire burned in the little stove, and the 
bundle of straw which answered for a bed was 
covered with an old quilt and tidily arranged. 

" How pleasant this seems," I remarked, notic- 
ing that two chairs had been added to the furni- 
ture. " Now, I am going to take off my things 
and you will begin where you left off yesterday, 
and then we can put our heads together and see 
what we had best do." My new friend peered 
into my face curiously, but I chatted gaily, only 
wishing to convey the shadow of an idea that I 
intended to bring about a revolution in her affairs. 
Mary was dispatched, this time very much 
against her will, to Mother Thurston, but some 
warm stockings and underclothes, with a dress or 
two and a brush and comb, which I had col- 


lected from friends, did the work, and the child 
left, laughing and crying hysterically. 

" As I was telling you," the woman continued, 
" I returned to New York. I spent one whole 
week hunting for work. Every place I went I 
was compelled to carry my baby. All looked 
at me suspiciously. Finally, in despair, I went 
where shirts and men's underclothing were 
given out, found an old woman who took care of 
Mary, and promised to board us for three dol- 
lars a week. The first work I carried home I 
was confronted by the proprietor, who, after 
asking me several questions about myself, ended 
by informing me that he would give me a better 
quality of work, better pay, and all that sort of 
thing. He did so, and I found myself able to 
earn from six to eight dollars a week. He 
seemed very kind, and I believed, notwithstand- 
ing my wretched experience, that he was my 
friend. One evening I was surprised by a visit 
from the man, who informed me that it was his 
practice to call occasionally on his employes. I 
swallowed that also, without the least suspicion." 


JOU can understand, madam," continued 
the heart-broken woman, "how very 
easy it was for me to be imposed upon. 
The descent from affluence had been so sudden 
that I could not realize the poverty and disgrace 
it had entailed upon me. I had been guilty of 
no sin except that of leaving my parents for the 
man I loved; and it took a good many hard 
knocks to enable me to comprehend that a woman 
toiling every day for her bread and butter was 
not a fit candidate for respectable society. So 
when Mr. called upon me in a friendly man- 
ner, stating that ever since he had been in busi- 
ness he had made it a practice to call occasionally 
on his employes, how could I be expected to 
look through the crust of deceit and treachery 
that enveloped the man, and read the depravity 

hidden away in his black soul He represented 



himself as a Christian, too ; invited me to go to a 
Methodist conference meeting, desired to know 
if I had ever been converted, and if I considered 
my calling and election sure, etc. On one occa- 
sion he prayed with me most earnestly. This 
state of things continued several weeks, during 
which time I made excellent wages, and got on 
comfortably. But Heaven only knows how un- 
happy I was. One evening the old woman I 
boarded with was away to church, and my em- 
ployer called. I had never before been a 
moment alone with him. Something, I scarcely 
knew what, had always kept me from lighting 
him to the door, although he had once or twice 
especially requested it. This evening I had cried 
until, fearful of spoiling my work, I laid it away; 
and when I recognized his knock upon the door, a 
peculiar warning, or premonition of evil, caused 
the cold perspiration to stand in great beads 
upon my face. His greeting was polite and 
unexceptionable. I became in a measure as- 
sured. He rallied me upon my swollen eyes, 
reasoned with me in regard to the utter useless- 
ness and folly of tears, assured me that I should 


always have a friend in him, and ended by draw- 
ing his chair closer to mine, and inquiring in 
low tones if I had not seen, from the very com- 
mencement, that his feelings toward me were not 
the ordinary feelings of friendship, but a deeper, 
truer, more passionate yearning than this word 
could ever suggest? I started back in horror. 
Then light commenced to dawn. 

" < Do not be afraid of me, Mary/ he urged in 
the low, hissing tones of a serpent. * You shall 
never take another stitch never do another 
day's work; you shall be mine to care for 
mine to keep ; you shall have your own earnings, 
and be mistress of your own establishment, and 
baby shall be to me as my own child.' 

"'Have I not heard you, Mr. speak of 

your wife on several occasions?' I inquired, 
with as much calmness as I could assume. 

" ' Why, of course you have, you little simple- 
ton ; but didn't you know that it is all the fash- 
ion for men and their wives to hate each other 
cordially, and seek each their own pleasure in 
their own peculiar way? If you don't, let me 
enlighten yon. My wife does just as she 


pleases. I never question, and vice versa. I 
loved you, Mary, as soon as I saw you. Now 
tell me that you will allow me to remove you 
from this horrible place to-morrow.' 

" I looked at myself in the old woman's quaint 
little mirror, and wondered that I didn't fall 
dead at the man's feet. There I stood, the 
heart-broken victim of one wealthy New York 
merchant, dishonored and disgraced; and now, 
before the iron in my soul had had time to cool 
in the least, another of the same profession makes 
similar overtures. Aye, but I loved the first 
how well Omniscience only knows. Whether I 
should, had I discovered his treachery before our 
mock marriage, I am unable to say, but this 
much I do know that this moment, with the 
whole wretched past looming up before me the 
years of suffering and ignominy I love him 
better than all above or below. But this man, 
my employer, I detested. His glowing picture 
of a life of luxury only filled me with dis- 
gust. It was no virtue to resist, for a crust 
alone would have brought to me greater comfort 
than all the wealth of the Indies shared with him. 


Summoning all my courage, I said to the villain, 
who had never taken his eyes from my face, evi- 
dently striving to bring all his magnetic power 
to bear upon my peculiar temperament 

" ' Sir, I am astonished that a man occupying 
your position in society, representing himself as a 
Christian gentleman, should so far forget what 
belongs to decency. I scorn both you and your 
proposal ; and now do me the kindness to leave 
the house immediately. Not a word,' I contin- 
ued, as he seemed inclined to argue the point. 
He attempted to seize my hand. I saw from the 
frenzied look on his face that the man had deter- 
mined to do me harm; so, taking advantage of a 
moment's hesitation on his part, I sprang to the 
door, opened it, and never stopped until I had 
reached the street and hidden myself in a neigh- 
boring area, and there waited for him to come 
out. In a moment or two he passed, and I ran 
back to my little room, locked the door, and 
waited, in a state of mind impossible to describe, 
for the arrival of my old friend. 

"<Ah, child!' said she, 'I could ha' told you so. 
Heigho! That's the way with all the big bugs! 


A woman's virtue is no more account to 'em than 
the dirt under their feet; and you have lost your 
nice work too; mark my words, child. He'll 
hunt you down; a disappointed man is worse 
than a baffled beast, because he's got what the 
beast haint, reason to back him.' 

" I had not thought of the work ; but now what 
should I do? No one would make a favorite of 
me, and give me choice work and ample remu- 
neration, unless he had his own selfish and lust- 
ful desires to gratify. What wonder that I could 
see nothing but desolation before me ? I finished 
the work I had on hand, and returned it, re- 
cieved from the book-keeper my money, and was 
politely informed that my services were no 
longer needed. I had saved up thirty dollars, 
and, with this to depend upon, I hunted for 
employment. Shirts from six to ten cents apiece 
was the best I could find, and with this I had to 
be content. My little fund was at last all gone 
and work as fast as I could, and as long as I 
could, I was not able to earn enough to pay our 
board. The old woman was a good, kind soul, 
and for three or four weeks did all in her power 


to encourage me ; but she had no income except 
that obtained by fine washing and ironing for a 
few families. One day she was taken seriously 
ill, and my baby also. Neither of us had a cent 
of money. The next day both invalids were 
worse. I went to the different stores where 
we were accustomed to buy our provisions, 
hoping they would trust me, but met with no 
success. In despair I begged, but no one would 
listen to me. Evening came again, and, what 
with my long fast and dreadfully nervous con- 
dition, I had no milk for my baby ; and my old 
friend lay groaning, and almost dying for the 
comforts of life. I started out again, this time 
determined to return with food and medicine. 
I went into a corner grocery, watched my oppor- 
tunity, hid a loaf of bread under my shawl, and 
slipped out. I had not got a block from the 
store, when a policeman clapped his hand upon 
my shoulder, and, with 'Come with me, miss,' 
led the way to the station-house, where I was 
locked up for the night. " 


[I ! what a night of horror was that ! 
I told the policeman who took me to 
the dreadful place that I had a starv- 
ing infant at home, and my only friend was 
dying for want of care and medicine. I failed 
to make the least impression upon the stony- 
hearted man. 

" ' Come along, now ; step up lively ; might as 
well save your gab,' were the only replies he 
vouchsafed me. Once I tried to run away from 
him, but he grasped my wrist with his iron hand 
until I cried out wfth pain, and then laughed 
heartily at my suffering. Did you ever " and 
her dark eyes sought mine wistfully "see the 
inside of a station-house of an evening? I 
realized by my own wretchedness before this, 
the fearful amount of suffering there must be in 
the world, but this experience shut and bolted a 


door in my soul that I do not believe will ever 
be opened again in this world or the next. It 
hardened me. Talk about hell," she continued, 
rising and pacing the floor as these terrible 
memories again assumed life and shape. " New 
York City is full of purgatories, and the station- 
houses are not among the least of them. About 
ten o'clock a pleasant-faced policeman came in, 
and looked around at* the strange crowd, it 
seemed to me, with an expression which had 
some humanity in it, if not pity. I beckoned 
for him to come to me, and I told him my 
trouble. 7 

"'Then you really took the loaf of bread ? ' he 

"'Oh, yes, sir,' I replied. 'I took it because 
I had no money to pay for it, and we were all 

"'Poor child,' he said, musingly. 'Give me 
your number, and I'll stop there as I go down 
and take them something to eat. It is not likely 
that the Dutchman will appear against you in 
the morning, and you'll get home in pretty good 
season ; ' and then he went out and returned in 


a moment with a piece of gingerbread, which I 
can tell you I was very thankful for. c Now,' 
said he, ' I will be at your house in ten minutes 
and will make it all right with the old woman 
and baby.' Oh, I hope," she continued, tears 
rolling down her cheeks, " that I shall sometime 
have it in my power to repay that policeman ! or 
at least let him know how heartily I appreciated 
his kindness. Oh, % my friend, such men are 
few and far between. I thought it would 
never be morning, and then it seemed to me I 
should never be called to court, but after a while 
fifteen or twenty women were placed in march- 
ing order, and I one of the number, arrested for 
taking a loaf of bread, which I could neither beg 
nor purchase. As the policeman had hinted, no 
accuser came, and about eleven o'clock I was 
dismissed. It did seem to me that I should 
never live to reach home, short as the distance 
was. My baby lay on the bed by the side of the 
old woman. A porringer containing some milk, 
with which the good old soul had fed the little 
one, with some crumbs of bread, were also beside 
her. My baby laughed and held up her tiny 


hands as I entered, and in my gladness to find 
that all was well with the darling; I pressed her 
a moment to my heart without bestowing so 
much as a glance at the motionless figure of my 
friend ! Oh, my dear madam, when I did look, 
I thought I should have fallen dead to the floor ! 
There lay the only friend I had on earth, her 
hand even then clutching the spoon with which 
she had kept the breath of life in my baby, her 
eyes stony and wide open, and not one trace of 
life visible on her features ; her hands were cold 
and rigid. Death must have come to her very 
gently two or three hours previous. I called for 
assistance, and after a while got together two or 
three friends of the old woman's, who arranged 
everything in decency and in order. Tins 
paralyzed me. I was like one walking in a 
dream. Whatever I did was performed me- 
chanically. The funeral was over, the body 
consigned to the dirt of Potter's Field, the few 
little articles of furniture sold to pay expenses, 
and I found myself once more, with my infant 
in my arms, without a friend and without a 
dollar. Several families offered me washing, 


but they objected to the baby. I knew it was 
useless to attempt that sort of work, as I had 
never done a day's washing in my life and of 
course I could never give satisfaction. I walked 
around for two days, calling at different houses, 
trying to obtain a chambermaid's situation, but 
no one wanted an unrecommended female, with 
a helpless little one. Well, night came again. 
I was tired and hungry, and had arrived where 
I cared very little what happened to me. 
I begged. No one noticed me, and finally I 
decided to jump into the river. I turned out 
of Broadway into Cortlandt street, and a block 
down met a handsomely-dressed woman, who 
very kindly stopped at my call. She listened to 
my story, and told me to follow her, and she 
would put me in the way of earning my own 
living, and a good one. I knew what she meant, 
but I didn't care. There was nothing (this I 
solemnly swear) between that and a double crime 
suicide and murder. This was the only thing, 
my friend, God had left for me to do, and I 
accepted it gladly. There now, don't shudder 
so," as a convulsive tremor passed over me. 


" Hunger and cold and death are wonderfully 
strong provocations to this description of sin. 
I accepted it gladly, because there was nothing 
else under heaven I could do to save my own 
and my child's life, and hundreds of women are 
yearly driven to prostitution and the w^ages of 
sin for the same reason. Well, I went home 
with the stranger, found everything in splendid 
style, a large drawing-room elegantly furnished, 
and all the apparent paraphernalia of wealth. 
My baby was given into the hands of a nurse, 
and the mistress of the establishment superin- 
tended my toilet. I can tell you I was dazzlingly 
arrayed and well fed. I was draped in the 
costliest of silks and the fleeciest of laces. 
Diamonds sparkled from my -neck and fingers, 
and as I gazed at myself in the full-length 
mirror I wondered at my own beauty. I saw the 
woman pour a drop or two of some white liquid 
into the fragrant coffee, but I din't know what it 
was, and didn't care. Oh, how my cheeks 
burned and eyes glowed after that meal. Had 
I been sipping nectar from the ambrosial fount, 
or suddenly transported into some tropical clime, 


where everything was love and beauty, I could 
not have experienced more ecstatic sensations. 
I was taken to the parlors and formally intro- 
duced as Miss Belle Hosmer. I played the 
piano, danced, sung and coquetted, and was, of 
course, the feature of the evening. It is no use 
to go on. The next morning found me sorrowful 
and conscience-stricken, and unable to look into 
the innocent eyes of my baby. But my virtue 
was gone. I had sold it for something to eat 
and a shelter. It was too late to retract, and 
what if I did ? There was nothing else in life 
for me. From that time to this, weary, heart- 
sick, cursing my existence, I have practiced this 
dreadful business, but never once, so help me 
Heaven, because it afforded me pleasure. Now, 
you have it all, and I suppose realize how useless 
it will be to think of such a thing as reformation. 
I am so grateful to you for your kindness and 
sympathy but but " 

"No buts in the case," I replied cheerfully. 
" Now let me talk." 


j|OU know, as well as you know that 
you have life and feeling, that the 
course you have pursued for the last 
few years is not only destructive to the body, 
which God gave you to care for and keep pure, 
but also destructive to your soul. By soul, I mean 
the higher, more exalted portion of your nature. 
Anything from which our understanding and 
heart revolt we should avoid, even if in so doing 
we die daily and at last literally. I believe, as 
you say, that hundreds of women are driven to 
prostitution from the effects of want, grim hun- 
ger, and cold, and therefore have not a word to say 
in regard to your past life; but the present 
is mine. In a strange but loving manner, 
Heaven has directed my steps in your direc- 
tion, and I cannot will not leave you to fol- 
low a business which must send you to your 



grave dishonored, leaving only a heritage of 
infamy to your dear little daughter." 

" There is no help for it," she sighed. " Grate- 
ful as I am for your sympathy and kindness, I can 
make no promises. God knows, I would be glad 
to do differently, but what is there in life for a 
woman after she has once fallen ? You know too 
well that her course is down, down, forever down. 
Society allows her no alternative." 

"But you have set aside all social laws in the 
past, why not ignore conventionalisms still fur- 
ther, by daring to turn your back upon all such in- 
fluences, and by respecting yourself ? Let society 
go its own way, where your conscience and com- 
mon-sense approve. Why should you care what 
the world says or does? You certainly are not 
mindful of its requirements now; a pure life need 
make you no more so; and just remember, as I 
have told you before, that you have no right to 
expect anything from social etiquette, excepting 
so far as you conform to social rules. Notwith- 
standing your intimacy with sin, it would, I know, 
grieve you fearfully, did you think that Mary 
would ever be led to follow in your footsteps." 


" Oli, God forbid ! " she moaned, clasping her 
hands convulsively. 

"Well, then, yon certainly cannot blame other 
mothers for wishing to keep their daughters away 
from influences which they know to be unhal- 
lowed. It is right for them to be thus particular! " 

"Why not put the boot on the other foot a 
while?" she queried. "Women are only fearful 
about those of their own sex. It doesn't matter 
to them how many libertines they entertain;" 
and now her eyes flashed fire. " The more con- 
quests a man has made, the more ruins he has ef- 
fected, the better his recommendation to genteel 
society; but his victims where are they? A 
reformed rake, so an old writer puts it, 'makes 
the best kind of husband,' but who ever heard 
of a reformed prostitute making a good wife? 
Pshaw! how ridiculous to talk on so one-sided 
and unjust a subject. I tell you, madam, there 
is no chance for a woman in the world." 

" I have thought this matter over thousands of 
times, and deplored the existence of such a state 
of things in this enlightened and intelligent age, 
but this is my rock," I replied. " And it is a glo- 


rious one to anchor to. It is none of onr busi- 
ness what Tom, Dick, or Harry does, how much 
sin they are guilty of, or how much their commis- 
sions are winked at, but it is our business what we 
ourselves are guilty of, because, in a large sense 
of the word, we are our own keepers, and conse- 
quently our responsibility can scarcely be esti- 
mated. We must leave off thinking of other 
people's digressions from rectitude, and the man- 
ner in which such digressions are received, and 
weed the garden of our own souls carefully, not 
forgetting all the time to sow the seeds of charity. 
Thus we shall be enabled to do ourselves and 
others justice." 

" A very good doctrine to preach," she answer- 
ed; "but I am fearful it will hardly work well. 
You never were tempted ; you never were tried ; 
you never were hungry and cold; you never had 
a little one crying for food you were unable to 
furnish. What do you know of the awful ills of 
life? Delicately reared, well cared for, sheltered 
from every rough wind, how can you judge for 
me?" and now the lines around the sufferer's 
mouth grew hard and ominously distinct. 


Notwithstanding the unquiet look on my 
friend's face, I could not refrain from smiling, 
as I remembered how sorrow and keen soul- 
trials sometimes develop selfishness, and I 
went back four years before, to my own heart- 
ache, my own dark hours, and as I then 
thought unparalleled wretchedness, and re- 
called the tempests of passion, the fearful strug- 
gles between desire to leave a world I consid- 
ered so unfairly governed, and the duty I 
owed to the life a higher Power had given me 
to nourish and care for. She saw my smile, 
and, with her peculiarly keen intuition, re- 
marked eagerly : 

" Your expression says, < I do know some- 
thing of the storms of life.' Tell me, dear 
madam, have you ever suffered any sorrow 
that can be compared to mine ? " 

I realized that a leaf from my own ex- 
perience would be of use, and replied : 

" Like you I have been hungry and cold. 
I have not only put one babe to bed unfed, 
but four precious little ones. Like you I 
have had no shelter. Our histories differ es- 


sentially ; but I truly believe that there has 
been as much wormwood and gall compressed 
into a few years of my life as into your 
own, sad as I realize your case to have been." 

"And yet you maintained your own self- 
respect?" she half queried and half affirmed, 
bursting into tears. 

".Yes, my dear, not only my 'own self 
respect,' but have lived to thank God for 
those moments of auguish, realizing fully the 
good they have done me. Nothing can de- 
velop a nature like sorrow. Sunshine may do 
for a while, but the land which does not receive 
the pelting storm as well as the gentle dew never 
amounts to much, and its grain is not worth the 
last threshing." 

Just then I heard some one run quickly up 
stairs ; saw my companion's cheek pale, and in a 
second she had started for the door ; but she was 
too late. The visitor entered hurriedly. I looked 
up and recognized (how I should like to write his 
name in letters of fire) a MINISTER, a man who 
professes belief in the hottest kind of eternal 
damnation, and whose pleasure it is to shake his 


congregation over the bottomless pit on all occa- 
sions. For a moment he was speechless. Then 
his old hypocritical manner returned, and with it 
his self-possession. 

" Oh ! good afternoon," he blarneyed, walking 
toward me with outstretched hand, which, by the 
way, I didn't see, just about then. " I am very 
glad to meet you here." Then, turning to the 
agitated woman, who was still standing by the 
door, he said, blandly: "Mary, I have come to 
see if you could make me a dozen shirts." Then, 
looking around to my corner, continued, while 
his eyes rested everywhere but upon my face : "I 
have been interested for some time in this young 
woman, and have striven to do her what little 
good lay in my. power, and " 

" And," said I, taking up the little conjunction, 

" it is entirely unnecessary for the Rev. Mr. 

to add another lie to his already overflowing list. 
I perfectly understand the nature of your business 
here this afternoon ; and do me the favor to leave 
immediately. Mary is my exclusive property 
now, and desires never to see your face again." 


| HE clergyman made a hasty exit, leaving 
me in a perfect whirlwind of rage. It 
was distressing enough to think that 
men who stood high as merchants and citizens 
should thus seek to ruin both body and soul of 
the woman I was anxious to befriend, and, if 
possible, save ; but to realize that men wearing 
God's livery, and professing to be interested for 
the salvation of' all mankind, could thus desire 
to prey upon the lambs of the fold, was some- 
thing which my graceless nature could neither 
understand nor forgive. 

Since then I have believed in total depravity, 
everlasting destruction, and a host of terrible 
theological Scyllas, which my little -religious 
yacht notwithstanding the head- wind and tide 
it had been compelled to buffet had always 
steered clear of. But now, where was I? In a 


malestrom of doubt and suspicion ; for such ex- 
periences are enough to make one lose faith in 
all humanity. 

It was some time after the villain left before a 
word was spoken. Mary was first to break the 

" I am not sorry this has happened," she said 
evidently only half understanding my enraged 

"Did you know that man was a so-called 
minister of the gospel ? " I inquired, looking into 
the eyes which had been full of tears ever since 
the arrival of her visitor. 

" I did," she replied. 

"And you knew his real name?" 

"I did." 

"He did not attempt to deceive you, then?" 

" Please do not ask me any more questions ! " 
she answered, beseechingly. " But you might 
just as well make up your mind that the most of 
the godliness professed by these pious folks is a 
sham. My experience taught me that a good 
while ago, and, as you may imagine, I know con- 
siderable about it by this time more, probably, 


than you ever will. It is only necessary to make 
a stunning profession, and then the hypocrite, 
entirely covered by his long cloak, looks one 
thing and practices another, and gets the credit 
of being a meek and lowly Christian. Discour- 
aging, isn't it?" 

"Yes, Mary," I replied, "it is discouraging; 
facts like these are enough to drive one wild; but 
I am thankful I happened to be here. The 
wretch wont have much peace of mind for a 
while, I reckon." 

"Probably he will be somewhat alarmed for 
his reputation," said Mary. " But reflection will 
soon convince him that his artillery is too heavy 
for you to interfere with." 

That w r as undoubtedly so, and the thought 
w r as driven home to my soul. 

Of what earthly use is it for one poor, weak 
woman to make war against immorality! It 
seemed to me on that occasion like throwing 
straws against the wind, and in my heart-aching 
perplexity I felt very much like abandoning the 
ship. To add to my misery, my companion, who 
had scarcely taken her eyes from my face since 
the villain's exit,* remarked, 


" The more, my dear lady, you lift the curtain 
which has hitherto shut out these unpleasant 
pictures, the more harassed and perplexed you 
will become ; and I see now, by your weary, dis- 
tressed expression, that you realize the utter im- 
possibility of making any headway in the work 
you have undertaken. Let me advise you a little 
now. You are a mother, with children, the most 
of them boys. To make them what you desire 
will certainly require all the time you can spare 
from earning their bread and butter. Then, you 
are not physically strong, and your health conse- 
quently needs the tenderest care, if you would 
live to see your children grown and educated. 
Now this work noble and glorious though it be ! 
is not for you. You are too sensitive, and 
your sympathies are too easily enlisted; besides, 
the views of life which these pictures disclose 
will have a tendency to make you distrustful, 
and, for that reason, dreadfully uncomfortable. 
My dear lady, I am more thankful for the kind- 
ness and real love you have shown me than I can 
ever express, and really have too much regard 
for yourself and your precious little ones not to 


warn you that no good will ever result to your- 
self from these efforts in this world, and as for 
the next, I don't believe much about it. If I 
could see the least particle of justice anywhere 
I should not be thus sceptical." 

"Lord, let me not be discouraged!" was my 
especial prayer on that occasion. "Give me 
strength to battle for the right ! Give me power 
to be heard ! Make the woman before me power- 
less to resist the influence I am endeavoring to 
sustain, and, above all things, let me be constant, 
in season and out of season, in my strivings to be 
of benefit to the down-trodden and fallen of my 
own sex ! " 

" I ought, perhaps, to be very thankful to the 
man for showing me so plainly the strength of 
the fortification I seek to demolish," I remarked, 
after she had finished speaking. " I shall 
probably be able to look at this matter more 
philosophically after a while ; and now, Mary, for 
yourself. Whatsoever my hands find to do, that, 
with God's help, I mean to do. He must have 
directed my steps here; and please look me in 
the face while I tell you that I have determined 


that nothing shall send me from you until I have 
accomplished my desires, unless it be your own 

" Then you will never go," she replied, deeply 
affected. " But I have spoken for your own good 
and comfort. You must remember, my friend, 
that I have tried everything within the scope of 
my ability have used every means in my 
power before I arrived at this dreadful place to 
earn a decent living for myself and child ; and as 
true as we both live, just so true, I did not come 
to prostitution because I liked it, but because, as 
I have told you several times before, there was 
nothing else left. If there was nothing then 
then, before I had fallen what can there be 
now ? " and a sad smile illumined the intelligent 
face. " You are a very agreeable lunatic, my 
dear, but a lunatic, nevertheless ! " 

" If I will see that you are provided with 
means to live with remunerative employment, 
will you stop, and keep out of this infamous 
business ? " I inquired, noting every change that 
passed over her countenance. 

"How can you ask me such a question?" she 


inquired, hastily rising and crossing the room. 
* Don't you see that I abhor the life ? Merciful 
God yes!" she ejaculated, clasping her hands 
prayerfully. " And can you do this ? " 

" I can, and I will ! " 

One quick, impetuous, thankful cry, and my 
companion was close in my embrace. " Woman 
fashion," methinks I hear some of you say. 
Yes, woman fashion and angel fashion this 
time for I know that hosts of the bright- winged 
messengers looked down and smiled, and that 
the Good Father himself was glad. 


1 HE promise I had desired to gain was 
mine, and, as I bade my newly-found 
friends good-by for a day or two, my 
feelings were of a decidedly mixed character. 
Thankfulness was, of course, predominant ; but, 
to save my life, I could not help thinking of the 
man who drew the largest prize in that lottery 
we have all heard so much about that mythical 
elephant, the height of the poor fellow's ambi- 
tion, but so awkward to handle. 

I had started out one day to gain some infor- 
mation from beggars, determined to question all 
who approached me, and, as a friendly paper 
remarked, " went home with the first one met." 
The journal refrained from saying, "woman 
fashion." It was a male (Mail) editor, too, who 
stopped thus considerately short in his criticism, 
and I shall always admire him for his self-denial. 



Well, when I arrived home, I surveyed my 
little family (" little " in this case is a word not at 
all meant fora descriptive adjective) and wondered 
what I should do first. I had realized from the 
beginning how difficult it would be to provide 
remunerative work for one so totally unskilled in 
every department of labor. I knew that it would 
be a long time (perhaps never) before she could 
support herself ; and, with her independent ideas, 
I saw plainly that not a little finesse would 
have to be practiced, if I would have the object 
of my solicitude comfortable. To interest my 
friends in the case would involve too much pub- 
licity at this critical juncture. 

" Do not, please do not, bring any one to see 
me ! " was her especial prayer, and who could but 
respect the extremely natural wish ! I hadn't a 
friend but would believe every incident I might 
relate to them but would help me in caring for 
these new responsibilities; still, it would cer- 
tainly be very unfair not to allow them a glimpse 
of the person they would benefit. So, after ma- 
ture deliberation, I concluded (this time not 
" woman fashion ") to keep the story to myself, 


and try three or four brokers who had previously 
come to my rescue in cases of destitution. 

The woman's whole condition must be changed. 
Her surroundings must undergo an immediate 
and thorough transformation ; and, as I put down 
the figures in my little account-book, reckoning up 
the expense of coal, wood, a new carpet, a stove, 
flour, hominy, and decent clothes, to save my 
life I couldn't make it less than one hundred and 
fifty dollars. If 1# omitted my daily walk and 
hour or so of conversation ; if I retired later 
and rose earlier, it would take a long time to 
make that amount over and above my own large 
and necessary expenses. To cap the climax, my 
four-year old, who had been teasing for a doll 
that opened its eyes, and had long, curly, real 
hair, came to my side just as I had added the last 
domestic necessity, with, 

"Mamma, when may I have my doll-baby? 
Didn't you say when you got that last 'tory 

" Yes, dear," I answered, and wondering, as I 
kissed her rosy lips, if, under the circumstances, 
the darling should not be indefinitely put off. Oh 


these everlasting questions of duty and inclina- 
tion ! Then master Joe, a young autocrat of six, 

"Mamma, see the hole that's just this moment 
come on my knee. Mamma, I want loots next 
time. Don't you remember you said you'd buy 
me boots when these were worned out ? but look 
at 'em ! " And Josie's shoe, with the toe entirely 
stubbed out, was held up to view. 

I declare if, the remainder of that day, every 
member of my own family, and every person of 
my acquaintance didn't either want something 
that I was expected to furnish, or else had unre- 
deemed promises to remind me of ! I 
is always thus. 

Some one will probably suggest that no person 
is excusable for attempting to take more of a 
burden upon himself than he is able to carry. 
Perhaps not ; but contact with the rough edges 
of the world has taught me this much, that if 
our poor, sick, and imbecile waited for the strong 
and wealthy to take their cases in hand, they'd 
wait. This woman and child I had accepted 
as a direct present from the hand of God, and 


if nothing else would do, I would divide with 
her; but if not, it could be avoided, because, as 
I looked at the flaxen heads ranged around, with 
their toys and books, and noted their precious 
youthful prattle, I understood my first duty. 
And so I thought late into the night, and the 
decision my heart and conscience arrived at was 
to go begging next day, and raise money enough 
to make the desired improvement in my friend's 

I wonder if every one hates to beg as I do? 
Once, in the extremest want, I was offered a so- 
liciting position in a certain suburban church, for 
which said church would fairly remunerate me. 
I started, " solicited " just three times, and re- 
turned to the worthy deacon with my letters of in- 
troduction, saying, 'mid a storm of tears in which 
I am forced to admit there was quite as much 
temper as sorrow, " Sir, I am much obliged to 
you ; but I'd rather starve, freeze, be burnt at the 
stake, and suffer a pretty warm purgatory, and" 

" Yes, my dear madam," he interrupted, well 
understanding my vulnerable spot. "But your 


"I don't care ! I'll put every one of them in an 
orphan asylum, and take in house-cleaning, before 
I'll do any more of it." And I walked from the 
deacon's presence, without a dollar in my pocket. 
The good man evidently thought me a proper 
candidate for Bloomingdale. 

I wonder how folks continually do so many 
things from which their natures revolt ! I won- 
der if it will always be so ! I wonder if we take 
poverty and misery over the river with us 1 


]HEEE was no time to be lost. My two 
newly-assumed responsibilities must be 
cared for, and that immediately ; so the 
next morning I started for "Wall street on my 
"soliciting" expedition. The men whom I 
most relied upon for aid were not at their respec- 
tive offices. " On the street," I was informed : 
"Over to the Stock Exchange," "Be in pres- 
ently;" and so I walked on to the corner of 
Broad and Wall, and looked down on to the sea 
of black hats in front of that elegant building 
around which Bulls and Bears do congregate, 
and wished that it were possible for soul to 
speak to soul in some wordless electrical manner, 
and that the owners of those beavers and felts 
might be directed to file past the apple-stand, 
by which I stood ruminating, and, sympathizing 
with my great desire to aid the unfortunate, 

place in my hands plentiful means for so doing ; 



and for a moment, forgetful of haste and neces- 
sity, I stood gazing at the telegraph wires and 
considering how news was transmitted from in- 
dividual to individual, from state to state, and 
from the new to the old world, and marvelling 
at the genius and learning which had brought 
the widely separated into such intimate and 
glorious connection; and then I wondered why 
a man or woman with quick, loving sympathies, 
and moral earnestness, might not be a suffi- 
ciently powerful battery to so act upon the in- 
visible wires, which connect brain with brain and 
heart with heart, as to make speech and solicitation 
unnecessary. But the crowd kept up its auction- 
eer-like howling, and I was nothing but a little 
speck in the universe, a very important speck 
in my own estimation, with no power to attract, 
orreach the great heart of humanity, except 
with my tongue, and that tiny member, gen- 
erally willing to play its part in the great drama 
of life, never felt less like wagging than on this 
long-to-be-remembered occasion. I was grow- 
ing metaphysical. That would never do. The 
buxom old apple-woman, quite as deep in the 


bustle of trade as her more reckless brother 
down the street, looked at me wonderingly. I 
walked on a few steps, and presently a cheery 
voice said: 

" Good morning, Mrs. Kirk ; I am blessed if 
I wasn't thinking of you just a moment ago!" 
and a kind hand grasped mine. One of the in- 
dividuals I was looking for, you see. " All well 
at home, I hope," he continued. "Little folks 
smart ? You look sad no trouble, I trust ? " 

" We are all in usual health," I replied, " but 
I came over this morning on purpose to see you. 
Can you spare me five minutes at the office ? " 

"Yes, my dear child, thirty of them, if you 
will excuse me while I deposit this troublesome 
stock. Dame Erie has been on a regular bender 
this last week; old enough to know better, you 
understand, but she keeps me stepping round 
pretty lively ; walk right down to the office, and 
Til be with you in a jiffy." 

" I hope Erie has treated you very well," I 
remarked as, a few moments after, he seated 
himself by my side. 

"What poor unfortunate is in a tight place 


now?" he inquired, good-naturedly. "I know 
somebody is in need, by the looks of your face. 
Yes, Erie, the jilt, thanks to a bright eye to the 
windward, has treated me uncommonly well ; and 
now, tell me who's in trouble, and all about it. 
It is rather curious that I should have been 
thinking about you this morning." 

I had only now to relate that part of my story 
I had thought best to impart. The responsive 
chord was struck without a word, and I was soon 
in the midst of my narrative. 

"Bless your heart, yes! made comfortable f 
of course she shall be ! By George ! that is won- 
derful ! I suppose there are hosts of just such 
cases in this modern Sodom," he interrupted, as I 
stopped to take breath. " Glad you came to me. 
Let's see : how much money ought to do this ? 
Have you made any calculation? Two hundred 
dollars, eh ? That ought to fix things up a little, 
I should think. Good gracious, the poor child is 
actually weeping ! " as I turned my head to hide 
the tears of thankfulness. 

Two hundred dollars ! To have raised half 
that sum I expected to have been compelled to 


make at least' four "soliciting" visits, and what 
wonder I was glad when begging was so distaste- 
ful ! My friend did not begin to comprehend the 
depth of my gratitude. How could he ? Con- 
ventionalisms, as wicked as they are stupid, came 
in to prevent any real heartfelt demonstrations ; 
but he will know all about it some day, not 
perhaps until we have both stepped over to the 
great other side; but I'll show him then, see 
if I don't. As I passed out he recalled me 

"Look here ; I bought my sister, a year ago, a 
real nice Wheeler and Wilson sewing-machine. 
Her health is very delicate, and she is not able to 
use it at all. If it would be of any service to her, 
she can have it and welcome; and also all the 
work of our family, that is, if she proves herself 
a good and reliable seamstress, which I have no 
doubt she will." 

God hadn't opened that door wide. It was 
not even ajar; no indeed! The portals were 
thrown open and relief had come rolling in, 
in a manner totally unexpected. It is perhaps 
unnecessary to state that I accepted the ma- 


chine, and with it more faith in God, and 
more in humanity. I went my way rejoicing. 
Yes, I mean it, more faith in God; although I 
am aware that expression is not exactly ortho- 
dox. A Christian's faith should be just as 
bright through the clouds and pelting rain, 
through the thunder-storms of trouble, through 
death and disaster, as when the sunshine of 
happiness irradiates arid makes glad the soul; 
at least, I suppose it should be, but I cannot 
make it seem exactly natural. Wouldn't it be 
nice to take a peep behind the great black cur- 
tain, and see what it all means ? 

I found my friend anxiously awaiting my 
arrival, her dark eyes full of that new light of- 
hope and determination which had dawned for 
the first time the day before. I went about my 
little comforts and improvements with as light a 
heart as if this tumble-down old shanty had 
been an establishment on Fifth avenue, and I 
its proprietor. It was the home of virtue and 
peace, and I hoped to make it one of content- 



HA YE been asked several times by those 
who have become interested in this story, 
how I dared trust the woman I was 
striving to assist, and if I felt no misgivings as to 
her ability to keep the promise she had made me. 
To all I would say that no doubt of her desire to 
lead a different life ever entered my head from 
the first moment I laid my eyes on her face, and 
it would have made no difference in my endeavors 
had I been suspicious of failure. You who are 
sceptical in regard to the reformation of such, 
select a case and do your best with it, and if you 
do not discover a host of things to love and res- 
pect in the object of your solicitude, your 
experience will be vastly different from mine, 

I had left my friend comfortable, and my next 
move was to purchase some plain, tasteful dresses 

for both mother and child, and prepare the latter 



for a good public school, which she was extremely 
anxious to attend. "What with my own work and 
the delay of shopping, it was some three or four 
days before I found it convenient to call again. 
Early one morning I was surprised by a visit 
from my little protege. 

" Why, Mary," said I, as the child ran into my 
room, " I am glad to see you ; but what is the 
matter ? " 

The darling's eyes were red and swollen from 
weeping, and her whole manner gave evidence of 
great mental excitement. 

" Oh," she answered, " mother is very sick ; I 
don't know what ails her ! She was all right till 
yesterday. See what she made for me out of 
one of the dresses you brought ; don't it look 
nice ? " and the little one displayed the neatly- 
fitting calico with a pride which did my heart 
good to witness. " It is a long time since mother 
sewed a stitch for me. I hope these wont be 
the last now," and the poor over-wrought child 
broke completely down. 

" Tell me all about it, dear, and then Lwill get 
ready and go home with you." After a little I 


listened to tlie following, which I will give in her 
own words as nearly as I can remember : 

" I thought mother was going to be happy now, 
we had got things so nice; but she has looked 
sadder than ever, and I couldn't get her to talk 
much ; but she kept to work until last night, and 
then, all of a sudden, fell over in her chair. Oh 
dear ! I thought she was dying ! I tried to lift 
her up, but she was too heavy. I bathed her 
^ace with cold water, and after a little she roused 
up and said : i Oh, Mary ! Mary ! you poor little 
outcast ! if I die, promise me that you will find 
your father.' Oh, my dear Mrs. Kirk!" .and 
now the child's arms were around my neck. " I 
hope that God will forgive me, for I was very 
wicked to my poor sick mother, but, when she 
said that 'find my father' I thought I should 
have died for very madness. You see I always 
knew that I must have had a father, and I also 
knew that he wasn't dead ; and from little things 
here and there, I got it into my head that he left 
my mother because he got tired of her, or some- 
thing else ; and then to have her ask me to find 
him if she died was a little too much for this 
child, and I told her that I'd be torn into inch 


pieces first. Find a man who would leave his 
wife and child to starve ! " and the dark eyes 
flashed forth a light which transformed the little 
one into an earnest, impassioned, determined 

"But, child," said I, "you surely didn't say 
those bitter things to your mother, and she so 
sick, did you ? " 

"Yes, I did," she replied, dashing away the 
tears, " yes, I did, and that's what I am sorry 
for ; because I expect she didn't half know what 
she was talking about, and ever since she has 
kept straight at it. Her hands are hot as fire, 
and so is her head. I got old Mother Thurston 
to sit with her while I came over for you." 

"Mary," said I, taking the child's trembling 
fingers in mine, " have you the least idea who 
your father is ? " 

" No, ma'am," she replied ; " and more than 
that, I don't want to have. It seems to me, 
ma'am, and I can't get it out of my head, that he 
is the cause of all the dreadful trouble we have 
had, and I hate him ! TVont you please to tell 
me what you think about it ? " 

" I know more, perhaps, about the circumstances 


than you do, my dear," I replied, striving to 
suppress all emotion, and impressed with the 
necessity of imparting some idea of the past to 
the little one. Ever since I had listened to the 
woman's sad story, a feeling of pity had stolen 
into my heart for the man who had wrought this 
great misery. I could not rid myself of it, nor, 
to save my life, bring myself to feel that he was 
as recklessly guilty as the facts seemed to warrant. 
That he loved the mother of this little one, I 
knew. From her own description I realized that 
the affection was not merely an animal or sensual 
one. It appeared to me that, suffering from the 
effect of an unhappy marriage, with an aching 
heart and a hungry soul, he had met this beauti- 
ful girl, fallen desperately in love, and believed 
that, with his wondrous wealth and the great 
love she felt for him, he could keep the matter 
of his first matrimonial experience secret. I re- 
alized, too, that it was a dastardly act for any one 
to be guilty of, but I pitied him nevertheless. 
So I said to the little one, scarcely conscious of 
the import of my words : " My dear, never let 
me hear you say again that you hate your father. 
I do not know who he is, or where he is, but I 


know lie does not hate you, and I believe that 
had he known where to have found you all these 
years, you would not have been left to suffer so ; 
and more than all, child, I am strongly led to 
believe that you will be very proud of him one 
of these days." 

The child hung her head for a moment, and 
then replied, while her eyes twinkled with pleas- 
ure : " What a funny lady you are. I have got 
something in my pocket I want to show you. 
I wasn't going to, because I thought maybe it 
would be doing mother a wrong. I can't read or 
write much, but mother cries over this every 
night ; I've caught her at it lots of times." 

I took the note, soiled with frequent usage, 
and read, while my heart almost stopped beating. 
It was simply an affectionate excuse for not 
returning at the promised time. It was signed 
" Your own Charles," and under this was written 
in the woman's own chirography "Alia - 
a name with which I was almost as familiar 
as with my own. A name representing money, 
philanthropy, position, and all sorts of good 
things. A man of whom I had never heard 
the first whisper of. evil. 


HAT'S the matter, please?" inquired 
Mary, noticing my surprise. "Is that 
anybody you know ? Do tell rne quick ! " 
she continued, imploringly. " You don't half feel 
how mother's strange actions hurt me. There 
are two or three things she has cried over ever 
since I can remember, and now they are driving 
her mad. You understand what all this means ; 
do tell me. I am not a little girl like other little 
girls you are acquainted with. I never was a 
child; that is, I never cared to play and romp like 
other children. I never had but one thought, 
and that was, i What is the matter with mother \ ' 
and if you don't tell me, I shall die / indeed I 

The little one's voice trembled with emotion, 
and tears filled her brilliant eyes. I dared not 
impart to her my suspicions, or rather my knowl- 



edge; and, after a little evasion, I managed to 
quiet the child. " I know nothing, Mary, for a 
certainty," I answered. "Your mother has not 
given me her confidence, and I am simply doing 
a good deal of guessing, that is all. You must 
have patience and wait. It seems to me the 
clouds are breaking, and, as I have told you 
before, child though you are, the severest of your 
trials have been passed." 

" But if mother should die, what could there 
be in life for me ? " she sobbed. " I have often 
prayed that we both might walk out of this cruel 
world together ; but now that things seem to look 
as if we could live a little bit like decent folks, 
I did hope there would be no more trouble. 
I should think whose ever business it is to punish 
me would be about tired by this time, for I've 
had nothing but kicks and cuffs ever since I was 
born till you came and fixed us all up, and 
mother stopped going out nights and doing the 
things that made my heart ache, and I began to 
be what 1 never was before, happy ; and no sooner 
had I commenced to enjoy myself than something 
else dreadful turns up. Mother is crazy." 


It was no use to quote passages of Scripture to 
this precocious child, no use to attempt to admin- 
ister comfort in any ordinary method. She could 
not be made to understand discipline, as taught 
by professed Christians of the present day. She 
was guiltless of intentional wrong: why should 
she be punished ? So, with the little one's hand 
tightly clasped in mine, I sought once more the 
abode of my friend. To say that I was startled 
at the change a few days had accomplished does 
not half express the state of my feelings. As we 
entered, she turned her face toward the door and 
smiled. A single spot of scarlet burned on each 
che.ek, making the remainder of the face still 
more pallid by contrast. Her long, abundant 
hair had been released from its coil to relieve 
the heated brain, and now it rippled over the 
pillow, giving a weird, almost angelic, appearance 
to the woman, who seemed, as I examined her 
condition carefully, to be hovering on the con- 
fines of the Eternal City. 

" I am so glad you have come !" she said, " so 
glad ! I dreamed that you had left me forever." 

"What a stupid dream, to be sure ! " I answered, 


assuming an indifference I was far from feeling. 
"You are feverish, Mary. I think you must 
have taken cold. How long have you felt so 

"Oh, all along," she murmured; "but then 
some way I have never allowed my feelings to 
get the mastery of me until now. I strove 
against it for your sake, indeed I did; but it 
would come. I thought to get to work, and 
hoped to do well, so that you could see how 
thankful I was for all your kindness, but it was 
no use ; I shall never again be fit for anything 
but the grave ; and for all our sakes, I wish death 
would come quickly." 

" My dear child," said I, gravely, " you are 
certainly the most ungrateful member of my 
family. You should not have dared to get ill. 
Have you any new trouble ? " and I took the 
thin, burning hand in mine, and tried to soothe 
the over- wrought .nerves. 

" It is my brain," she replied, drawing my 
hand to her forehead. "The part of me that 
thinks, dear. Some way, since I knew that we 
were provided for, and that Mary hadn't to suffer 


for something to eat, I have had more time to 
think, and it almost kills me. The past is dread- 
ful. How much better it would have been for 
me and her," pointing to the child, who sat on 
the bed, her eyes full of tears, " if I had, when 
so sorely oppressed, folded her a little closer to 
my heart and jumped overboard! God would 
have forgiven it, I am sure ; but now there is 
nothing for me here or hereafter. A few weeks 
of madness, and then the miserable flicker will 
be quenched forever." 

" Desperate means for desperate cases," I re- 
peated mentally, realizing that something must 
be done, and that speedily, or I should never be 
able to rouse her from the condition which, after 
all, was an extremely natural one, the only won- 
der being that she had not succumbed before. 

"Of whom have you been thinking?" I in- 
quired, softly, still retaining the hot hand, " for 
the last few hours ? " Again that wan smile, and 
she whispered, " Oh ! of him, you know ? " 

" Yes, I know," was my reply. 

" How can I help it ? Sometimes I think," she 
continued, "that I acted too hastily in leaving 


him the day that dreadful woman came there. 
His last words were that he loved me, and I know 
I loved him, and oh ! my Father ! I love him 
now. I wonder if, by and by, after God is sat- 
isfied of my sincere repentance for all I have 
done amiss, he will let me join hands with him 
and be his friend ? Why, I would be willing to 
wait a thousand years." 

More than one severe struggle for calmness I 
have had during my most eventful life, but this 
was the most difficult of all. An indescribable 
something urged me on, and yet, as I looked into 
her sunken eyes, the idea which had such 
thorough control of my faculties seemed utterly 
impracticable. Still, I could not be quiet. 

" Why don't you talk to me like you used ? " 
she queried, peeping into my face. "You are 
discouraged, and I don't wonder." 

" Not a bit of it ! " said I. " Why, bless your 
heart, this reaction is no more than a philosopher 
would have expected." But I was busy with my 
thoughts. " Mary, you think you have guarded 
your secret admirably, don't you ? I respect the 
feeling which has made you so careful ; but, my 


dear, Mr. is not unknown to me." 

Oh, if you could have seen her 1 I had hit the 
right nail that time. 

"How came you? What have I ever done? 
Where did you find it out? That name never 
escaped my lips. Oh! my God! what shall I 
do?" and she threw herself away and groaned 
aloud. " You would not tell ! " she shrieked, 
" you would not dare to tell ! " 

" Never, my dear child, shall the name escape 
my lips, if you do not desire it. But let me 
tell you one thing. He is a man of whom I 
never heard one evil word spoken. A man who 
has the respect of the entire community. Kow, 
Mary, something must be done. If he ever 
cared for you, and I am inclined to think he did, 
he cannot have quite forgotten you." 

"Hush now! hush! stop it! not a word!" 
she almost screamed. "Don't you ever dare! 
He took me as his mistress when he already had 
a wife. Was there any honor about that ? !N"o, 
indeed! A man of whom you never heard an 
evil word! Does society ever say anything of 
men who commit such terrible sins as these? 


Oh no ! they are always ' honorable ' ! and yet I 
loved him, love him still ; but don't you dare, 
don't you dare, I say, ever utter a word of this ! " 
My first point had been gained. There was 
something new to be thought about, and I had 
no fear of insanity just then. So, after a few 
words of sympathy, I bade her "good-by." 
Promising to come again soon, I left her to call 
on the man who had wrought this accumulation 
of woes. 


seemed to me, as I left the bedside of 
the sufferer and walked down the rickety 
old stairway into the street, that my feet 
scarcely touched the ground. I felt like one up- 
borne, upheld a sort of spiritual exhilaration I 
had never before experienced. I was conscious 
of a mighty presence, a wonderful power that 
made me strong and calm, strangely controlling 
my actions. I do not pretend to account for this. 
Most of my readers have probably been simi- 
larly acted upon in some portion of their lives. 
What would I not give, what would I not sacri- 
fice, to push aside the curtain, and observe how 
that was accomplished! "Nervously suscepti- 
ble," says one; "large clairvoyant powers," 
says another; "a spiritual medium," exclaims 

still another. As I look back upon the singular 



developments of that day alone, I am lost in 
wonder and amazement; and confess myself just 
as ignorant of the modus operandi of the con- 
cealed wire-pulling of that occasion, as the 
veriest child who reads these pages. So, call it 
what you please, account for it, each one, by 
his or her pet theory : it is all of that and more 
beside to me ; for it makes me certain of a 
glorious by and by ; of loving arms all ready to 
hold me close; of a Father, lover, and friends; 
of a heaven where Mary can revel in the purity 
of her first love, and where you and I may see 
the crooked tilings of this life made straight. 
Just consider a place where mistakes are recti- 
fied, angularities rounded off, causes explained, 
and love our eternal food. Oh, for one draught 
from that fountain ! 

As I walked "Up Broadway," determined to 
get at the depths of the affair that had so long 
and painfully occupied me, I seemed to meet an 
entirely different set of people from those who 
generally promenade this metropolitan thorough- 
fare. A kind light shone from every eye, a sort 
of "God bless you" trembled upon every lip; and 


as I stopped a moment to take breath, and try- 
to explain these singular sensations, a cheery 
voice sang out, 

"And is it yerself, my dear lady, that can be 
telling a poor feller, who has lost his way, the 
straight road to Houston street, sure ? " 

" Houston street ? oh, yes, sir ! " I replied, en- 
deavoring to bring myself down to the practical 
place, from whence issued this pleasant voice. 
"Houston street is two blocks above," and I 
pointed in the right direction. 

" Thank you, ma'am ; thank you, ma'am," he 
replied, touching his hat respectfully. "I'm 
much obliged to ye, sure; but is it out o' the 
clouds ye dropped? for upon the honor of an 
Irishman, ye have no look like the other folks 
round here. It wouldn't take a wizard to tell 
that it is not of yerself ye are thinking to-day. 
God bless you, ma'am, whatever ye are about." 

This was a God-speed I had not reckoned upon, 
and it served a double purpose: first, in bring- 
ing me down to the concert pitch and a more 
thorough realization of the peculiar errand I had 
started upon, and next, it assured me of success. 


That hearty, "God bless you, ma'am," rings in 
my ears still, and yet my Celtic friend was utter- 
ly unconscious of having said or done a pleasant 
thing. I cannot but think that he was a part 
of that day's programme, and no insignificant 
part either. By the time I arrived at my desti- 
nation, I was conscious that my errand might 
be construed, by the man I had determined to 
have an audience with, into a piece of imperti- 
nence ; but that did not deter me. I was a little 
less dreamy and poetical, but not a whit less 
resolved upon accomplishing my purpose. I 
reached the establishment, entered, and looked 
carefully around to see if the object of my 
search was present. Nowhere, to be sure. I 
don't think my voice trembled a particle as I 
handed my card to an usher ; but the letters 
which made up "Eleanor Kirk," so plainly em- 
bossed upon the enamelled pasteboard, seemed 
dancing a jig. "Be kind enough to give this 

to Mr. , and tell him that the lady awaits 

a private interview." 

The man gave me a scrutinizing look, as 
much as to say, " Some woman with an agency, 


or worse still, on a begging expedition. You 

wont see Mr. to-day," and walked rapidly 

away. He returned in a moment and said, 

" Mr. wishes to know the nature of your 

business; unless it is exceedingly important, he 
cannot see you, as he is especially engaged at 
this hour." 

I took another card, wrote on the back: "A 
matter of life and death ; a leaf from the past," 
inclosed it in an envelope, and waited. I was 
not at all surprised when the usher returned 
and politely bade me follow him. Something 
kept saying to my heart, which throbbed in my 
bosom like a young earthquake (I suppose it 
was my own spiritualized self) " Keep down ; 
God is with you; hosts of angels are helping 
you in this. Be steadfast!" and in a moment 
I stood in the presence of the man who had 
wrought the terrible desolation I had just left. 
My first thought, as I scanned this really noble 
countenance (for I had never had an opportunity 
of observing him so closely before) was, "Mary, 
I do not wonder that your young heart went 
out towards this man; do not wonder that you 


forsook father and mother, and for his dear sake 
lived among strangers; do not wonder at your 
wild idolatry," and then, with these thoughts 
chasing each other in quick succession through 
my brain, I stood looking him straight in the 
eye, without a single word. 

"Mrs. or Miss Kirk?" he observed, politely 
extending his hand, and drawing a chair for me 
to be seated. Still, I stood like one suddenly 
struck dumb. Oh! if I could only write out 
the sermon that came to me on that occasion, 
I should be doing a good for humanity ; but the 
ideas will not shape themselves into language, 
and I suppose I shall be compelled to carry it 
round in my soul until well, who knows when? 

But it is there, and must sometime have an 
airing. I placed my hand in his, and in a 
twinkling, realized that he comprehended my 
errand. The soul-telegraph had done its mighty 
work; and, without more ado (laugh if you 
please, call it "woman fashion," if you have a 
mind), I burst into an uncontrollable fit of sob- 
bing, in which doubt all who may, but the fact 
is as true as that I am now trying to describe that 


gcene my companion joined, and this without 
a word having been spoken. Heaven and earth 
are full of mysteries, but this episode of my life 
is the most mysterious of all. 


TTAVK always noticed when men and 
women are similarly affected by sudden 
grief, in case of death, or other be- 
reavements, that women are the first to recover 
composure. Now, as far as 1 have observed 
and I have tried to discriminate clearly and con- 
scientiously the good and bad are about equally 
distributed, and the counterpart of every wicked 
man may be found in the opposite sex. 

This, I know, will be questioned by many radi- 
cal reformers, who are somehow determined to 
see no virtue or decency among the fathers of the 
nation. The memory of my father God bless 
him ! is just as dear to me as that of my mother, 
and in sympathy and tenderness I believe he was 
really her equal. Through the numberless ills 
of childhood, his loving arms encompassed me. 
Life was dreary, indeed, after he was called 




It has so happened that in my strange and 
wearisome pilgrimage, my soul has been cheered 
by kind-hearted, pure-minded, honor-loving mem- 
bers of the proscribed sex ; and I never hear them 
denounced, as I have lately had occasion to, by 
women who, if their own statements are to be 
credited, must have possessed demons for fathers, 
brothers, and husbands, without feeling that the 
denouncers are not only shockingly ignorant in 
regard to natural laws, but also deficient in good, 
sterling common sense. Why a father should be 
of less consequence to a child than that child's 
mother, or his good name less to be considered, is 
something I cannot yet understand. But what I 
started to say was this : that the reason women 
generally recover themselves more quickly is, that 
care-taking belongs especially to them. The bear- 
ing and rearing of children tends to develop this 
quality, and therefore, the consideration of others, 
if not the first thought, generally follows closely 
in its wake. Now I had not the remotest inten- 
tion of reading a homily upon the virtues of the 
race, or of attempting to explain the difference 
between the natures and dispositions of the sexes ; 


but it seems to me that women should be exceed- 
ingly careful how they attempt to underrate the 
masculine element ; and it appears to me also, 
that women are quite as much to blame for the 
laxity of morals among men as men themselves. 
Did women but turn their backs upon known 
roues and libertines did they but set the same 
value upon virtue and nobility of character that 
they do upon wealth and social position, the attain- 
ment of their God-given rights would then be 
comparatively easy. 

There is nothing on earth that so unnerves me 
as to see a strong man in tears. I had dried my 
own eyes, and with my hand still in that of the 
stranger, waiting for him to recover composure, 
these thoughts chased themselves swiftly through 
my brain. It is astonishing how much one may 
think in an instant of time. Social requirements, 
conventionalities, privileges, each and all took on 
distinct and aggravated forms ; and without the 
least supernatural prescience, I was enabled per- 
fectly to understand the route which the individ- 
ual before me had travelled to reach this port of 
misery and humiliation. 


" Pity him ? " Yes, with my whole soul ; just 
as much, and just as unreservedly as though the 
sufferer had been one of my own sex. As I stood 
(I must confess it) a little out of patience with 
myself for allowing my heart to go out thus spon- 
taneously to a man who had been the cause of the 
downfall and degradation of one of my sisters, 
this little sentence was wafted into my soul 
"All one in Christ Jesus ; " and that settled it. 

After that my hand was passive until he was 
ready to relinquish it. 

" Come now," said I, " let's be seated, and talk 
this matter over immediately," and I straightened 
myself up, wiped my eyes for the fortieth time, 
and endeavored to assume a practical ^ manner, 
which I imagined must be adopted with the grief- 
stricken man, but which I was very far from feel- 
ing. Not that I felt in the least like shirking the 
responsibility 'thus voluntarily assumed that 
wasn't it ; but I did feel strangely like managing 
the case my own way, and it seemed to me that 
wouldn't do. I have learned better since ; have 
found that an impulse is oftentimes a genuine 
inspiration; and that the man or woman who 


pushes impulse one side, because Whately or 
some other man condemns impulse as contrary to 
true logical deduction that person crowds out 
the divinest part of his nature. 

" I cannot be mistaken," he said, with a desper- 
ate effort to be calm, " in regard to your errand- 
Oh ! if you only knew what a load of wretched- 
ness I have carried round with me all these years 
if you only knew " and here the poor fellow 
broke down again. 

" Good God ! " he moaned, now rising and 
pacing the room distractedly. " "What a life ! and 
what a wretch ! Tell me, and tell me quickty 
tell me this instant" now seizing both my 
hands and drawing me to the centre of the room. 
" Where is she ? Is she alive 1 Don't, I implore 
you don't tell me I may never look upon her 
face again ! If you have come with her dying 
message her precious last words leave me 
without uttering them. As Heaven is my judge, 
I could not bear it ! Talk about the tortures of 
the damned," he continued, more to himself than 
to me. " Have I not endured them ? and all be- 
cause of love God-given love, as pure as angels 


may feel ! It was love, so help me Heaven, it 
was love that brought all this desolation upon us ; 
and now she is dead dead and you have come 
to tell me so! For pity's sake, why don't you 

" I shall have two lunatics on my hands pretty 
soon, if you do not control yourself, my dear sir," 
I replied, a strange calm suddenly flooding my 

" Two lunatics ?" he repeated, catching at the 
words with wonderful rapidity, and drawing a 
chair close to mine. 

" You are smiling, Mrs. Kirk ! Why, your 
face looks like the face of heaven after a thunder 
shower! You couldn't smile if she was dead. 
You couldn't smile if you knew that such news 
would cause me to blow my brains out ! Two 
lunatics ? Mary is not in a mad-house ! That 
can't be ! But that would be better than have 
her dead, because I could bring her to her reason ! 
Ay, my love could do that ! She is alive. Yes, 
I know she is, by 'your face ! Tell me where I 
may find her," and the eager eyes were fixed 


upon mine with a magnetism which was irresis- 

" Mary is alive," I replied, and then waited a 

" Bless God ! " he ejaculated. " Oh ! how un- 
tiringly I have searched for her, always to be 

" Mary is alive," I continued, " and in the pos- 
session of her senses, bat very ill." 

" Tell me, Mrs. Kirk, that she is not danger- 
ously ill ; and for God's sake let me go to her at 
once." And the man rushed frantically for his 

" But you are in no condition to go into 
the street," I continued. " Mary is ill, but I 
think, if you will listen to me for a few moments, 
I can arrange matters so that you may be able to 
do her a great deal of good ; I do not consider 
her dangerously ill, and I know that joy seldom 
kills ; so please be quiet for a little." 

" God bless you for ever and ever," he cried. 
" I am a happy man already.' 


ilHAT a charm there is in silence ! What 
a charm in sympathetic communion! 
"What untold, indescribable happiness in 
feeling that one has accomplished a little good, 
and that good appreciated. For weeks I had 
been quietly and persistently at work, endeav- 
ring to benefit the real, time wife of the man I 
was then sitting by the side of, whose fine 
eyes seemed to look into my soul and seek 
the depths of the motives which had actuated 
me in this case. 

Please don't, at this stage of the proceedings, 
confound terms; because that would scarcely 
be fair. I say " true wife " for two reasons : 
the first because of that delightful and glorious 
blending of soul, that perfect adaptability of 
mental and physical which goes to make a 
genuine and God-instituted marriage ; and the 



second, because, at the time, she honestly con- 
sidered herself such. My organ of veneration 
is not perhaps as large as it would be had I 
moulded the bump to suit my own ideas of a 
healthy and well-formed phrenological develop- 
ment; but there is one thing which my head 
and heart instinctively bow to, and that is the 
power of love. That the man beside me had 
been guilty of a terrible wrong, there was no 
way of dodging, and yet I found myself very 
busy making excuses for him. He had sinned, 
and sinned for love's sake, and love and I were 
on the best of terms; and so I contrasted him 
with wretches I had seen and heard of, who 
without an atom of affection for those they 
had selected for their lustful designs, wooed, 
won, and cast aside. I suddenly grew metaphys- 
ical, and considered the philosophy of love 
love in its elemental and diviner sense and 
had almost arrived at the sphere where no 
other kind is admissible, where the boodage 
of clay is forgotten, or if necessarily remembered, 
with a joy next akin to ecstacy, that the disci- 


pline has past when my companion remarked 
in a low tone, 

"My dear madam, have you quite made up 
your mind in regard to my case? Your eyes 
have pierced my very soul. It really seeems to 
me that there is not a thought there but you 
have seen and commented upon. I was think- 
ing," he continued, still in the low, mellifluous 
tones, which appeared an index to the man's 
sweetness and nobility of disposition, " that 
you must, of a necessity, consider me just the 
scamp I have proved myself to be, and yet 
your expression is merciful in the extreme. 
Tell me, can you understand a love so deep 
so high, so boundless, as to preclude all possi- 
bility of any other feeling a sensation so 
all-absorbing, that prudence, propriety, and all 
human laws are, if not set at defiance, quite 
ignored ? Oh ! if I could only make you under- 
stand that this was the feeling I had for 
Mary! Why, my dear woman, so all-absorbing 
was it that I had no room for anything else 
except, well, except" and here the low tones 
grew almost indistinct, and then ceased alto- 


getlier. Just at that very moment I was won- 
dering why he had not spoken of his child. 
Could it be he had forgotten her existence? or 
was he purposely waiting for me? There was 
the soul-telegraph again; and although the poor 
fellow's manner was anxious and flurried, the 
nerves of his face twitching with the intensity 
of the effort to appear calm, I could not refrain 
from smiling as the wonderful power of soul 
communication was again brought home to me. 
There we sat, looking into each other's faces, 
saying, oh, so little, for our hearts were too 
full for utterance, and yet our souls were just 
as sociable as though they had been on intimate 
terms ever since their creation. To be a 
brilliant conversationalist is certainly the ne 
plus ultra of accomplishments, but to be able 
to talk sensibly and brilliantly without words 
of a verity, transcends that; but then there are 
so few whose magnetism will allow of this 
perfect and glorious understanding. "Why 
do you smile, Mrs. Kirk?" was the next ques- 
tion, asked with quivering lip. 

"Because, dear sir, the metaphysical part of 


this strange experience pleases me to such a 
wonderful extent that I cannot help it. We 
seem to be, as the Spiritualists say, perfectly 
en rapport; and now you would have me tell 
you of your little girl your dear little girl, 
the dearest little girl of my acquaintance, the 
one who first took me to your your wife." 

Oh! how I wish you who read this, you 
whose sympathies are with both these sufferers, 
could have looked into the face of my com- 
panion, as I uttered those words ! For a mo- 
ment he did not speak, then leaning forward 
inquired almost in a whisper, "How big is 

Comprehending the depth of feeling which 
sought expression in this extremely common- 
place inquiry, I replied, " About so big," raising 
my arm to the little one's height. 

"Is she healthy, and strong, and bright?," 
was the next question, in the same eager tones. 
A vision of the little one as I had first seen her, 
curled up on the steps of the Central National, 
shivering with cold, and almost starved, was 
brought distinctly before my mind's eye. Just 


to think of it the daughter of one of our 
most favored metropolitan merchants, in want 
of the commonest necessaries of life ! The child 
of love too, and perfect confidence ! What could 
it all mean? Why the necessity of such tor- 
ture to one of God's little ones? The child, 
with her bright, beautiful eyes, glaring at me 
from their framework of long, tangled hair, 
her naive, almost brusque manner, wonderful 
logic of her reasoning, the wit, which contact 
with the rough edges of the world had made 
as keen as a two-edged sword, all came back 
to me, and I replied, with a perfect knowledge 
of my subject, "Yes sir, she is healthy, and 
strong, and bright." I could not bring my, 
self to tell him the thoughts which were thus 
uppermost in my mind. "Let the past pass in 
review slowly," was my mental determination, 
endeavoring to evade the eyes which, somehow, 
would persist in their steadfast inspection. 

"Will you tell me how my little daughl 
looks? " was the next query. "Like her moth< 
or father ? " 

"Yery much like both," I made an* 


" She has her mother's features with your ex- 
pression; and really it is extremely hard to tell 
which she most resembles." 

" And will you be kind enough to inform me 
where you first met her ; how it happened that 
you became interested in my darlings ? I see 
that you are fearful of wounding my feelings 
by too frank an explanation of circumstances." 

There it was again ; more telegraphing. The 
science of clairvoyance had always been a 
pleasant study to me, although I had never 
learned to discriminate where clairvoyance began 
and a vivid imagination ended. To place implicit 
reliance upon the phenomena I had seen and 
heard described savored of over-credulity, and 
that I might not be too easily swayed by the 
mysterious and apparently unexplainable, I had 
always compelled myself to stop and reason 
sternly upon every subject presented. It was 
not wonderful that my companion should imag- 
ine, or rather suspect a great many dreadful 
things in reference to the woman and child so 
long separated from him ; but it was wonderful 


that his mind should thus closely follow mine. 
So far there had been no mistake. 

" My little one was cold and hungry when you 
found her. Aye I you need not answer, your eyes 
brimming with tears is enough for me. My God ; 
my baby suffering for food and for shelter ! and 
she was begging ! I see that too ! " 

Immediately my thoughts flew to the mother, 
and the condition I had found her in, when taken 
home by the child ; the recumbent figure in the 
corner, the tawdry finery hanging around, and 
the proof I received from the woman's own lips 
of the business she was engaged in. I was not in 
the least surprised that he should follow me here ; 
and I trembled in every limb, as he inquired, still 
with those eager eyes looking into my soul, 

" Where was Mary, then ? " 

" At home, sir," I replied, determined that this 
time I would insist upon that soul of mine keep- 
ing one secret, and I felt that this was not the 
time or place for full particulars. 


ilHERE has not been a night since Mary 
left me, but I have dreamed of her and 
my little one. So tall " and the man 
stretched out his hand as if in spirit he already 
covered her precious head. "Mary told you, I 
suppose, about my other babe? She died five 
years ago, and " here the low tones ceased 
entirely, and again, for a moment, the storm of 
sorrow swept over his head "since then I have 
been utterly adrift." 

I longed to ask him about the wife which the 
laws of the land declared his, but somehow I 
could not form the necessary sentence. "What 
right had I, I asked myself, to again bring this 
man and woman together, supposing, as I most 
certainly did, that the same insurmountable 
barrier existed which had kept them apart all 

these years? and then, supposing this first wife 



no longer lived, what reason had I for thinking 
that he would so far set aside all previous exam- 
ples as to marry a fallen woman, even though he 
was the only one responsible for such downfall ? 
" Have you not gone a trifle too far ? " suggested 
that " still, small voice," which, until now, I had 
been too excited to notice. "What is going 
to come out of this ? Has Davy Crockett's " Be 
sure you're right, and then go ahead," had any 
influence in bringing about this remarkable and 
partial finale, or have you been swayed by im- 
pulse, and impulse alone?" How many times 
have I heard parents say to children, and friend 
to friend, " Decide this question entirely by the 
head. Do not allow your heart to have the least 
voice in the matter." This then seemed like 
good counsel ; but I have decided since that the 
opinions which the head without the heart arrives 
at, or the heart without the head, are diametrically 
opposed to the logic of Christianity. " But have 
you not been overwhelmingly governed by 
heart ? Tell me, what has sound common sense, 
which is the foundation of true reasoning, had to 
do with the visit to this merchant ? " continued 


the voice tantalizingly, and without more ado I 
went to work settling the torment. In a second, 
the head, which had been seemingly ignored in 
the transaction, came in with a squelcher. 
" There is no necessity of laying down premises 
to prove myself correct. Mary and the man 
before you love each other as fondly as it is 
possible for man and w r oman to love. Their 
affection has stood the test of time and separation ; 
and now it is none of your business whether 
or no the legal partner still lives, or whether 
protracted inharmony has resulted in divorce. 
Your duty lies with the fact that a sister is dying 
for the love it is in your power to give her. 
" Shall she ask for bread, and be given a stone ? " 
" But this is not logic ! " says the reader. " You 
confess yourself in favor of a monogamic mar- 
riage, and now you are showing that love 
is the only test that can be applied to such 
unions ! Of a verity, this is a contradiction." 

Life is full of contradictions and seeming 
inconsistencies, my friend; and yet, after all, 
many are more honest in the expression of dif- 
ferent opinions, at different times, on the same 


subject, than we give them credit for. That 
laws for the government of humanity are abso- 
lutely necessary, no one in the possession of 
his senses can dispute ; but it is not possible 
for one man, or a set of men, to frame laws 
which can be made applicable to every case. 
This merchant had committed a sin against the 
law when he allowed the flood-tide of love to 
render him oblivious to that law. Still, this very- 
love, the divinest part of his nature, was, from 
the very reason of that divinity, a million times 
purer, and more powerful, than any statute that 
the brain of mortal can ever frame. Now, this 
was head-work ; and as I scanned again the 
noble features of my companion, went over again 
the cruel years which had deprived him of all 
he held dear, the head was reverently bowed 
bowed, as it always must be, to the omnipotence 
of love. I've liked my head better ever since 
the bringing in of that verdict. It evinced a 
harmony of feeling and action which argued 
well for future quandaries. 

""What a wretch I have been!" he resumed, 
after a moment's quiet. "If you would only 


tell me how I can ever atone for the wrong done 
Mary and my child, I shall be so glad ; but there 
really seems no way. I honestly believed when 
I took her as my own (God bless the darling ! 
she was my own, is my own, cherished as I 
think few men can cherish a woman), that I 
should be able to keep the manner of my living 
a profound secret until well, until I might 
as well make a clean breast of it the wife the 
law had given me was removed. I had no idea 
of a divorce ; I knew that a separation of that 
description could never part us, because, demon- 
like, she would pursue me, and make my life, 
thus parted, more wretched than ever. Her tem- 
per was most violent entirely uncontrollable. 
When in one of her terrible fits of passion, which 
she was at all times subject to, I was compelled 
to be ever on the defensive, and, in order to save 
my own life, would often be obliged to hold her 
hands until the frenzy spent itself, and she would 
lie back weak and sometimes penitent. It was a 
species of insanity, I have no doubt, but none the 
less terrible to bear. This incessant strain upon 
the nervous system brought about heart disease, 


which her physician pronounced incurable, and 
likely at any time to terminate her existence. 
Just remember, madam, that we had never taken 
a moment's real comfort in each other's society ; 
that, from children, our fathers, from some ridic- 
ulous family compact, had determined upon our 
marriage ; and that these insane ebullitions of 
temper had been carefully concealed from us, 
and you will be able to form some idea of my 
position when love, the real, genuine article, 
came to me. I could not refrain from possessing 
the dear child, and, to do this, I resorted to 
subterfuge and occasional falsehood. What 
would I not give to be able to blot out the 
dreadful past ? But come, is it not time to go ? 
Perhaps my course will be plainer, after having 
once more confessed my sin and sorrow." 

" Then, you have no children living save little 
Mary?" I queried, hoping to get at other infor- 

"]Nb, my friend, she is all; God bless the 
darling ! My wife lived just six months after 
Mary left me, and " 

" What ! your wife dead ? I interrupted. 


Then you are free from all restraint, free from all 
legal ties, free to do just as your heart . dictates ! 
Thank God !" I almost shrieked, so relieved that 
I could not help the expression. 

" And were you unacquainted with the fact ? " 
he inquired, while a look of perplexity was 
plainly visible. 

" Entirely so," I answered, with a long-drawn 
sigh of relief. 

" But how did you dare approach me if un- 
aware of my liberty ? Were you ready to set at 
defiance the conventionalities of society, and 
allow love to be heard in this case? or what 
were your ideas ? " 

"I think I had no very definite ideas on the 
subject," I replied. "I knew that Mary was 
perishing, and that you could do her good ; and 
I came to you, I think, because I couldn't help 
it. A will stronger than my own sent me. But 
I am really overjoyed to know that hereafter 
everything may be carried on without dissimu- 
lation." I could not but be struck with the 
gentleness, as well as the genuine fortitude dis- 
played by my companion. Tears stood in his 


large dark eyes tears impossible to hide, yet 
there was a strange calmness in his manner, 
which surprised and pleased me. I felt instinc- 
tively that I could trust him in the interview 
which was so soon to take place between him 
and the woman from whom he had been so long 

" Now, if you think best, Mrs. Kirk, we will 
go," he continued quietly. " I do not think my 
appearance will attract observation ; do you ? " 
and there was in the pleasant tone, so much of 
friendliness, and real trust in my desire and 
ability to be of assistance, that my heart grew 
warmer and my sympathies stronger. 

" My friend," said I, rising, thus expressing 
my willingness to depart, "do not, I beg of 
you, appear surprised at anything you may see 
in the place to which I shall take you. You 
have probably never entered a house so misera- 
bly squalid in appearance as the house where 
your Mary is compelled to reside ; although she 
is now provided with every comfort. 

" So bad as that ? " he queried. " Well ! let 


us go, or I fear I shall not have strength enough 
to take me there." 

Just then a rap was heard at the door, and 
without waiting for an invitation to enter, the 
visitor presented himself. Imagine my surprise 
when the minister, of whom mention has been 
made in a preceding chapter, walked briskly in, 
and with an air of conscious power, made known 
his business. I had seated myself with my back 
to the door, but had caught a glimpse of the 
hypocrite's side face, without recognition on his 
part, and then waited, with considerable curiosity, 
I confess, to hear the object of his visit. Oh, 
how my blood boiled ! This wretch, whom the 
world supposed was entirely engrossed with the 
saving of souls, but whose special business it 
was to drag down to the lowest depths of infamy 
the weak and helpless the man I had driven 
from the house of the woman whose God-given 
husband had just taken the scoundrel by the 
hand, with all the grace and suavity of a refined 
gentleman, as well as a sincere disciple of Jesus 
made known his benevolent errand. 


HAYE called, my dear sir," said the 
wolf, so thoroughly disguised as a sheep 
that a person unacquainted with his 
real character must have believed him the 
dear innocent he represented, "to see if I 
could interest you in a poor family (I will 
only detain you a moment) that I have lately 
had fall upon my hands. A very interesting 
case, I assure you, a widow and five children, 
the eldest only eight years old. I have just 
returned from the miserable apartments in which 
they live, and the distress I have been com- 
pelled to witness, accustomed as I am to scenes 
of destitution and wretchedness, has caused my 
heart to ache bitterly." 

"I am very much engaged this afternoon 
Mr. ," replied the merchant kindly, "and 

have not time to talk the matter over; but, 



to relieve immediate distress, allow me to give 
you a small sum, which will at least keep 
the family from starving for a few days ; " 
and I turned to see a fifty-dollar greenback 
just on the point of being transferred to the 
minister's long greedy fingers. At that mo- 
ment I confronted him. Many times in my 
life have I waxed wroth and indignant, but 
never before did I feel so thoroughly pugi- 
listic ! I could well understand then how men, 
taught, as they are, from infancy, the "manly 
art " of self-defence, are ready, when occasion 
demands it, to pitch in and make a corporeal 
impression where a moral one is not possible. 
There was no question but the scamp needed, 
as Mrs. Partington would express it, "a good, 
sound trouncing;" but all I could do was to 
glare . with my eyes, and " trounce " with my 
tongue, which I declare was never in better 
running order. 

"Put that money back in your pocket, sir," 
I commanded, more like Xantippe herself than 
the modest, self-possessed woman I was desirous 
of showing myself. " I would not trust that man 


with ten cents; a man who will assist in the 
downfall of women, who will lie, and creep, and 
play the part of a seducer and hypocrite through 
the week and explain the word of God on the 
Sabbath, will also steal. Give me the residence 
of that poor family whose sorrows you so 

glowingly picture. Mr. and myself are 

just going out, and we will call there and 
render all the assistance necessary." 

The merchant came to my side, and taking 
my hand in his, said soothingly and respect- 


"But, my dear friend, you have made a 

mistake ; this gentleman is the- Rev. Mr. , 

whose character is above reproach." 

"It would be unbecoming a Christian gen- 
tleman," said the parson, who had just found 
breath to speak, " to show any anger in re- 
plying ; yet I feel that there is, as the just 
and glorious Paul expresses it, such a sentiment 
as righteous indignation. This female," with an 
accent on female, which, under other circum- 
stances, would have been ludicrous to the 
last degree, "I have never, in my life, laid 


eyes on until this moment, and I defy her, 
or any one else, to produce an incident in 
my life which shall reflect to my discredit." 

"If you can trust me in other matters, sir," 
I replied, addressing my companion, who still 
stood close by my side, "you may trust me 
in this. A short time ago, a poor woman, 
whose life had been cursed by disappointment 

"I shall be compelled to bid you good af- 
ternoon, sir" interrupted the clerical cheat, 
making for the door. " I will call again, when 
sure of finding you alone. Your visitor is 
evidently an excellent candidate for Blooming^ 
dale. I cannot remain without losing my tem- 
per, although aware that the woman labors 
under the strangest hallucination possible to 
conceive of." 

"You will go, sir," said I, "when I have 
finished, and not until then," and placing my- 
self against the door, effectually barred his egress. 
"As I said before, a woman who had been 
driven to desperation by the bitterest disap- 
pointment, who was unable to procure by hon- 


est labor the commonest necessaries of life, 
broken down with her weight of woe, appealed 
to this man for spiritual comfort. He talked 
to her a little while of Jesus, of the won- 
derful love and wisdom of God in thus prov- 
ing his boundless affection by the great test 
of chastisement, and then volunteered to call 
on her. She gave him permission, hoping there 
might be something in the religion of which 
he was a popular representative, to cheer and 
console. One visit served to demonstrate the 
fact that her spiritual adviser merely sought 
his own lustful gratification. You may well 
look astonished; but tliis is the literal truth; 
and if my word is not sufficient, I am pre- 
pared to prove it." 

The merchant's face was ashen pale. I could 
see that he had a suspicion of the truth. 

"His intended victim was not was not" , 

he inquired, almost in a whisper. 

I shot him a glance, which he interpreted 
aright, and continued : "I do not believe he 
can give the residence of any such family as 
he has described; not that there are not him- 


dreds of such in our midst; but the poor and 
needy are among the least of his troubles. 
Your minister simply desired an addition to 
his pocket-money for some anticipated sub- 
rosa, anti-orthodox spree. You are at liberty 
to leave now as quickly as you please." 

" You will live long enough to repent this, 
I trust," roared the parson, making a hasty 
and undignified exit. 

"How much money has that fellow fleeced 
you out of, I wonder ? " I could not help 
asking, as the merchant contemplated the door, 
from whence had issued this clerical humbug. 

"Is it possible that 1 have been imposed 
upon all this time?" he replied. "I really 
can make no estimate of the amounts I have 
given the man from time to time ; thousands 
of dollars, probably; and, no doubt, every shil- 
ling has been transferred to the man's own 
pocket. Tell me, Mrs. Kirk, where did you 
first make the discovery in regard to his real 
character?" And the sad eyes took on a sad- 
der look, as he waited for me to answer. 

"Oh! never mind where, just now," I re- 


plied, evasively; "I will entertain you some 
time with an account of n few of my experi- 

enees ; and now let US go before we are again. 

interrupted.' 5 

"Something told me, my friend," he con- 
tinued, without withdrawing his gaze, "that my 
Marv was the woman you ha\e reference to. 
If it is so, tell me; and, l>y Heaven, I'll tind 
a wav to make the w ret eh wish he had never 
been horn. Tell me now ! it is my right to 

Aye, thought I, how many terrible things you 
had yet to learn, my dear sir! How are you 
to bear the disclosures M'hich must be made? 
Would it not be well to keep the past a secret? 
AVhy is it necessary to harrow up the man's soul 
with an account of the manner in which his 
Mary had kept herself and ehild from starving 
during the long years he had been separated 
from her? Surely, Mary would never tell him, 
and 1 was morally certain 1 never should. 
Y\'ould the man grasp the whole truth by his 
keen intuition-: And then again, wasn't there 
another side to the picture? Had lie any right 


to inquire how she; had supported herself, BO long 
as ho had boon the cause of her hand-to-hand 
struggle with the agonizing realities of life? 
And then, again, there wan poor, weak human 
nature, there were the rules and requirements of 
established conventionalisms which say to a man: 
"We will wink at whatever sin you may commit. 
It is not very pretty, perhaps; but, then, had 
women arc necessary evils ;" and to the woman, 
"(iot thee behind me, Satan! The very night of 
you is contamination." I weighed all these, 
and pitied my companion more than over. Men 
are taught from childhood to expect so mueh 
more from their mothers, sisters, and lady friends 
than ever comes into the head of a woman to 
demand from the opposite sex, that it is no 
wonder that many men are unreasonable in their 
expectations, and despotic in their government. 
The, whole social puz/lo scorned unravelled then, 
and it has ever since appeared very singular to 
me that women who have; had opportunities for 
cultivation and mental and spiritual growth, an; 
not awake to the fact that a woman should be 
held in no more disrespect for ministering to a 


man's pleasure or necessity than the man himself. 
It always did seem to me an even thing ; and yet, 
in common with the rest of my sex, I find that I 
have often entertained the seducer, and turned 
a cold shoulder to the seduced, for which my 
conscience reproaches me bitterly. 

"I am overwehelmed with the disclosures of 
the day," the merchant resumed. " I knew that 
the world was full of hypocrites ; but I had no 
idea that a man ..occupying the high position he 
does, would dare to commit such crimes against 
society. Don't look at me so reproachfully," he 
continued, after a brief scanning of my coun- 
tenance. "I know what you thought that mo- 
ment. This was it : How dare he make com- 
parisons? Did he not deceive a good woman, 
and by this deception entail woe and disgrace 
upon her ? I tell you, madam," and the pale face 
blanched to an ashen whiteness, "I will not 
allow you to think of that rascal and myself at 
the same time. I sinned from love and he from 
lust. Do you not see the difference ? " 

" I should think, my friend, that you might be 
aware, from the great difference in my manner 


towards you and the rascal who has just depar- 
ted, of my real feelings, even if I had not ex- 
pressed as much in language. You have my 
heartiest, my most earnest sympathy; and now 
let us go." 

" I beg your pardon a thousand times, my 
friend, for my hasty language. What business 
have I, after all, to excuse myself ; I who have 
doomed to poverty and ignominy my heart's 
choice, and my own flesh and blood ? It ill be- 
comes me to talk about others! And yet, my 
contempt for the wretch who has just left us is 
every bit as profound as if I had never been 
guilty of sin. One of the inconsistencies of 
poor human nature, I presume. You said, let us 
go. Yes, let us go quickly. There is not a mo- 
ment to be lost. What have we been dallying 
here for, when my poor little ones are ill and in 
danger ? Oh ! good God ! just to think of it ; 
all these years starving and I rolling in luxury. 
Why did she run from me? I could, at least, 
have provided her with physical comforts. 
Come now, I will order the carriage, and we will 
go. Give me some idea of how I am to find 


them, or I fear I shall not be able to control 

"Please do not disappoint me," I replied, 
hoping to calm the almost insane man, by appeal- 
ing to his pride. " I have felt all along that I 
could rely upon you most implicitly. Your dear 
ones are comfortably provided for ; but the local- 
ity in which they have been compelled to reside, 
as I told you before, is a wretched one ; but you 
must not think of surroundings. Your every 
energy must be bent toward the accomplishment 
of a great purpose, namely, the future happi- 
ness of the woman and child who have been 
kept in the mire of poverty and anguish by the 
great mistake made by you in misrepresenting 
your real social position. You see, my dear sir, 
everything comes directly back to you. And if 
you are not wonderfully discreet and self-poised, 
I cannot be answerable for consequences." 

" Oh ! you may trust me ; I will be good ; 
indeed I will. You shall never have a word of 
fault to find. I will redeem the past with the 
glory of my future." 

There was a childish pathos about the voice, 


and an indescribably earnest expression of the 
fine mouth, that brought me again to the reali- 
zation of the fact that a woman with more knowl- 
edge of the world than Mary possessed, when, im- 
mature and unsophisticated, he ran with her from 
her father's house, would have been quite excus- 
able for allowing her heart to greet him quickly. 
" See if I don't," he continued. " Indeed you 
may always trust me. Come," and drawing my 
arm through his we went down the street into the 
carriage, and rolled away towards the miserable 
tenement. " Mulberry street, did you say I " al- 
most groaned my companion. 


IH ! this tedious, dreadful groping ; this 
wearisome seeking of the soul for light ; 
this desire to find some clue to the 
strange entanglement some thread that will 
finally lead out of the snarl ! May not one be 
pardoned for honest doubt, even by those who 
stand firmest in the faith of a merciful God and 
a glorious hereafter ? 

Can such things be, and overcome us, like a 
summer's cloud, without our special wonder? 
Every revolution of the wheels was taking us 
nearer to Mary. How would she stand the meet- 
ing ? How did I dare to take so much responsi- 
bility upon myself? If the All-wise and 
All-merciful had desired, could He not have 
brought happiness to this strangely-led, strangely- 
chastened husband and wife, without my inter- 
ference ? What was the need of keeping these 



two souls apart which love had seemingly joined 
and sanctified ? Was it wicked (yes, I suppose it 
was ; but I couldn't help it, any more than I 
could keep back the tears that would roll out of 
my eyes each time I looked at the poor fellow by 
my side) to wonder what /should have done had 
I been the ruler of the universe ? They would 
have been my children ! 

Motherly love immediately flew over to Brook- 
lyn, where my own sunny-haired darlings were, 
and as imagination conjured up a vision of my- 
self, rod in hand, pelting remorselessly into my 
own flesh and blood, just because I loved them, I 
grew hard and sceptical and out 'of patience ; 
and the conclusion was forced upon me, that the 
world would consider such a mother anything 
but loving and motherly. I reviewed my own 
troubles. I tell you, one can think quickly 
sometimes ; and somehow it came upon me that 
I had not been consulted in regard to my own 
manufacture or creation. If I had, with the least 
knowledge of life's bitterness, I should most 
respectfully have declined the honor. So would, 
probably, the man by my side ; so would most 

14:2 UP BROAD WA T. 

everybody. " That train of thought," exclaims 
the pious reader, " is not a very profitable one." 
Perhaps not ; but I should like to inquire of my 
pious friend, what one's common sense or reason- 
ing faculties were given one for, if not to use ? 
and how, in the name of that common sense, a 
man or a woman can be satisfied with continued 
castigation ? How a loving heart, longing for 
love, the exquisite essence of life ; longing for 
appreciation, for sympathy, for love's complete 
environment, : can be made to have patience with 
misconstruction, separation, and the lack of 
everything that soul demands for healthy devel- 
opment ? My companion was in dead earnest, 
so was Mary, so was I ; and yet the cup of sor- 
row had been drained to the last and bitterest 
dregs by each one of us. 

" My God ! what is all this for ?" I could not 
help exclaiming, though bitterly against my 

" For joy, I hope, my dear friend," exclaimed 
my companion, taking my hand in his, and cov- 
ering it tenderly with the other palm. 

"You have suffered, too ; and I have been so 


absorbed in my own trouble as not to have no- 
ticed it. Sorrow makes one selfish, I think. 
The past, with me, will simply resolve itself into 
an unpleasant dream, if I am only able to make 
amends in future. Don't sob so, my dear child, 
don't." And the low tones, so intensely musical, 
brought a calm to my soul, which at that mo- 
ment was doubly blessed. 

" Here we are," said I ; and in a moment more 
the driver reined up in front of the tumble-down 

" Come back to me in an hour for further 
orders," said the merchant, as the coachman 
waited. " It is hardly safe to wait here that 
length of time." 

I could not help wondering at the new tone 
which the voice had taken on. I knew there 
would be no more breaking down ; not that the 
conflict was over ; but the necessity had arrived 
for quick and decisive action for careful self- 
control and. the man was ready for the emer- 
gency. "We stopped one moment at the foot of 
the stairs. 


"Well, what are we waiting for?" he asked, 

" I will go in first, and after a little prepara- 
tion, will give the signal for you to enter." 

" As you think best," he replied. " But for 
the love of mercy, do not be long." 

Just think! This man had waited ten long, 
weary years ten. years of agony and torture in- 
describable; had groped along hopelessly, with- 
out glimmer of light, and now the day had 
dawned, and there was prospect of that peace 
which comes from mutual understanding. The 
goal was near within reaching distance; but 
the hard patience, which had previously sustained 
him, was now quite gone, and in its place had 
come again that insatiable longing, born of hope, 
which would not brook an instant's delay. 

" Please remember that I understand perfectly 
how you feel, and will be as expeditious as I 
think prudent. May the Lord grant that the step 
I have taken apparently so impulsively, and so 
replete with love and goodwill may result as 
you desire." 


"Amen," he moaned, with bowed head, and 
hands convulsively clasped. 

Now, perhaps, some one will say that I had no 
right to supplicate in such a manner. Why not? 
I craved a boon, and asked my Heavenly Father 
for it. I desired an especial blessing upon my 
friends, who, it seemed to me, had earned a 
blessing. I asked for something I wanted, just 
the same as I used to ask my own earthly father 
for the means to aid those who stood in need of 
comforting, knowing that he was abundantly 
able and willing to grant my humane requests. 
What is the use of praying, if one doesn't pray 
for what one wants ? It seems to me that most 
supplications are at least miserable farces. Ever 
since I can remember, I have wondered at the 
style of prayer adopted by most ministers. It 
has always appeared to me that if God really 
listened to the twaddle which Sabbath after 
Sabbath was spun out, and respun, and worked 
over again, in long-winded descriptions of His 
especial attributes (just as if a man thought to 
make himself popular with Deity by playing 
upon his vanity), that if disgust could be felt by 


one so wise and loving, there would not be room 
for any other sensation save that and pity ! And 
then, to ask for a host of things which seem es- 
pecially desirable, after having explained to the 
Almighty the immense benefit to be derived from 
such and such a programme, to end with, in 
substance, this : " But, oh Lord ! this seems to us 
wisest and best; but it is no matter about it 
any way that suits you will please me wonder- 
fully." !Nbw, I don't believe there can be found 
one man, or one woman, in one thousand, who, if 
he or she knows calamity is threatening them 
death or disgrace staring themselves or loved 
ones in the face but will, if they believe at all 
in prayer, pray with all their might and main to 
have the trouble averted ; and if they end such 
supplications with, " Not as I will, but as Thou 
thinkest best," the most are guilty of falsehood, 
for it is not within the limits of human endur- 
ance to be willing to be constantly scourged. I 
don't believe in praying for a new bonnet, or a 
new suit of clothes, or a ride, or a journey ; but 
if the soul, which must be a part of God's, desires 
to be gloriously filled with that love, which all 


admit to be a direct emanation from Omnipo- 
tence, the wisest thing, in my judgment, is to ask 
for it, to plead for it, because one wants it, 
and end with, " I want it I want it and can- 
not be denied." A child may be very still under 
keen disappointment when its father has de- 
nied certain things which seemed to the little 
one eminently just and proper may be still, 
because realizing that no effort of the feeble will 
can avail against the stronger paternal one ; but 
it is the silence of defeat, and sometimes of 
graceful submission, but never because the child 
has given up desiring the pleasure its little heart 
so earnestly yearned for. It isn't honest to say 
to God, "I am resigned to any trouble you 
may see proper to afflict me with, even if Christ 
did say, "Thy will be done." 

As I turned from my friend, old Mother 
Thurston came out of her room, on her way up- 

"Oh, my dear!" exclaimed the kind-hearted 
old woman, "I am so glad you have got back; 
I have been praying for it for the last half- 

148 tfP BROADWAY. 

Good gracious ! how my heart throbbed. I 
could have taken her into my arms, and hugged 
her, rags and all, for just that one little sen- 

"But, Mother Thurston, what did you do 
that for ? " I inquired, hoping that I had at last 
found the right description of faith. 

" What for, do you ask, honey ? Why, that is 
a funny question to come- from such as you. 
"Why I asked the Lord to send you straight back, 
because I wanted you, sure, and the poor creetur 
up stairs needed you, of course." 

There it was. She had asked for what she 
wanted; and I don't believe it occurred to her 
to end with, "Never mind about it; it's all 
the same to me." 

"I told her you'd be here afore long. You 
see I somehow knowed it. She has been dread- 
ful kind of anxious about something, and has 
ee'n amost strained her big eyes out of her head 
watching the door. I couldn't get a word out of 
her, no how." 

" Well, my dear, you see I am back again," I 


said, catching the brilliant eye of the invalid as 1 
opened the door. 

"I hope you are feeling better." 

"Where have you been?" she asked, almost 
under her breath, drawing my head down on 
the pillow beside her. 

" Oh ! just to make a call," I answered, 

" I am so glad, and so sorry ; I hoped, and I 
was afraid. You know what you said when you 
went out. "Well, I wa's frightened, because you 
know he could never forgive me and love me 
as he used; and I would much rather die than 
be pitied; but oh, my Father! I could forgive 
him anything, no matter what it was could 
love him if he had committed the unpardonable 

" What do you call the unpardonoble sin, my 
dear ? " I interrupted, purposely. 

"Oh! 1 don't know," she replied, dreamily, 

"The unpardonable sin, my child, with him, 
would be his failure to love you as formerly; 
his determination not to overlook a past for 


which he is greatly responsible; but I don't 
think I should say but little of that past just 
now, Mary." 

Oh! how she glared at me. "Some things 
may safely be left to be inferred, temporarily, 
at least," I continued, taking no notice of her 
flashing eyes. " It is better they should be." 

" Tell me now, have you ? Oh, no, you would 
not be so cruel. You would never dare take 
advantage of an accident. I never told you his 
name would have died before such disgrace 
should have been brought upon him." 

"What does mother mean by disgrace?" in- 
quired little Mary, advancing to the bedside, 
and taking the thin, white hand of her mother 
in hers. 

"It seems to me (of course, I don't know 
much about it), but it seems to me a dreadful 
disgrace for a little girl not to have any father 
she can call so, and yet have a father living. 
Aun^e Kirk, I have prayed ever since you went, 
every minute of the time, to the Lord God, 
that if my mother's " and here the little girl 
hesitated for the right word, and finished 


with "my mother's love, and my father was 
living, you would find him ; and if you haven't, 
I* shall. I'm not going to bear such nonsense 
as this much longer, I can tell you." And a 
look of determination, almost of defance, trans- 
formed the child's face into that of a stern, in- 
flexible woman. 

"I don't suppose he's much to brag about, 
anyhow; but it's a good thing to get acquainted 
with one's relations, especially one's father. I 
know who he is now, and where to find him; 
and if killed for it the next minute, I'll make 
him understand t'other from which. I don't 
like sickness, and sorrow, and tears, and rags, 
and a nasty old house in Mulberry street, and an 
empty stomach, and cold feet, and no good shoes, 
and no nothing generally; and then, there is 
something here," laying her little hand on her 
heart, an angelic expression taking the place of 
the late defiant one; "there is something here 
that wants somebody, something I never had 
that isn't clothes or victuals something to love 
me fit to kill me and if it isn't my father, 
who in the world should it be ? But I wouldn't 


speak to him if lie should walk into this room 
now until well until/' Here the tears com- 
menced to flow. "Pshaw! what's the matter 
with me ? " she continued. " I'm almost as bad 
as mother ! "What was I saying ? " and the 
pearly drops came faster. " Oh ! that I wouldn't 
speak to him until well, until he told me that 
he loved me that's when! "What a goose I 
am ! I remember what you told me, Auntie Kirk 
that you didn't believe he was so dreadful 
much to blame. I have been thinking of it 
ever since. That is the only real good thing 
that ever was said to me in my whole life ! 
Bless his old heart ! " 

I knew that the "mother's 4ove," and the 
child's father was drinking in every word, for I 
had purposely left the door ajar. 


|H ! how that child tortures me ! Mary, 
you will drive me mad ! Surely, my 
punishment is greater than I can bear ! " 
murmured the sufferer, turning her face to the 

"What are you always talking about pun- 
ishment for, mother? Didn't you love my 
father? say now please tell me? Do you not 
love him now? Have you not always loved 
him? You don't speak. God is love, is he 
not? He made the love, didn't He? If He 
didn't know that you and my father were go- 
insr to love each other, and that I should 

O 7 

come into this abominable old world, I am 
right sure lie didn't know much, and what's 
the use of talking about it? It's all plain 
enough; when you come to think, just rig] it. 
There is either somebody who fixes things as 



they ought to be, else there isn't, that's all ; 
and what's the sense of fretting either way?" 

"That is very strange talk for a little girl," 
said the invalid, forgetful for a moment of 
the agony she was enduring. 

" I know it, mother. I know it, Auntie Kirk. 
I just feel that I am nothing but a little girl; 
but I have had plenty of time to thinJc, and 
I have done it, too. I couldn't have come 
here without the Lord willed it so. I am one 
more, just a little speck more, that is all; 
but if He has counted the hairs in everybody's 
head, it wouldn't be fair to leave mine out; 
and just please tell me how in the world I 
could be here if God didn't desire it so? 
And now (I only wish I knew how to talk. 
I will one of these days, see if I don't)," 
and the dark, beautiful eyes, so luminous with 
intelligence and that winsome spirituality, which 
was the darling's greatest attraction, became so 
magnetically fascinating, that both her mother 
and myself were spell-bound for the instant. 
"And now," she continued, "He must have 
known all about who was to be my mother 


and father; and I shouldn't have been my- 
self at all if it hadn't been so do you see? 
And if God fixed it that way, it must be 
right, and there is no sort of use in crying 
over it. / shall go to my father, if you haven't 
got ahead of me, Auntie. I see something 
strange in your eyes, Auntie. Mother, look! 
Don't you see it too ? Oh ! you have. I know 
you have. Mother, are you blind? I have 
got a father, and that father loves me ; and 
mother, you have got a love, and that love 
loves you ; and he has always loved you ; and 
I can be kissed; and I can be hugged, and 
called beautiful names; and I can Jiave all 
the clean stockings I want, and buttoned gai- 
ters, just big enough, and nice dresses ; and 
mother needn't cry any more ; and she can be 
kissed, and have a nice house to live in. Oh, 
Father in Heaven!" and here the distracted 
child threw herself upon her knees. "Oh, 
Father in Heaven! what a dear, kind, good, 
splendid Father, to have waited all this time 
until this little girl has grown big enough to 
know what comfort is; because, dear Father, 


if she had always had what she wanted, she 
would never have known how good it was. 
Please be very loving to Auntie Kirk for mak- 
ing me believe that it would all come out 
right one of these days; because the feeling 
that there was nobody in heaven to care for 
me, was ten million times worse than an empty 
stomach, and no stockings and shoes. Make 
mother see it, too. Oh, wont it be jolly, when 
my own papa comes and folds us close to his 
heart? and it will be you that sent him. You, 
oh, dear, good Heavenly Father, who gave us 
all trouble that we might taste ease of com- 
fort. Give Auntie somebody to love her, too; 
somebody that will make her heart sing all 
day, and be glad every minute. Change the 
sad light in her eyes to one so full of joy and 
gladness that everybody who meets her will 
know her heart is filled up to the very tip 
top, and hasn't room for a bit more. Please, 
God, don't send us any more tears; because 
we have all cried as much as we need 3 and 
have got enough of it. Make mother as glad 
as I am that we have had sorrow and trouble, 


but for all our sakes, and Jesus Christ's sake, 
send mother's love to us quickly." 

" Amen," responded the invalid, now as calm 
as a child upon its mother's breast. 

"Amen," I sobbed, with my eyes fixed upon 
the door. 

"Amen," came in deep, sonorous tones from 
the husband and father, who just then came 
slowly into the apartment. Mary, with her 
eyes closed, drinking in the full inspiration of 
the little one's prayer, did not first notice 
the visitor, but the child, just rising from her 
knees, caught the first glimpse of her father. 

"With an enraptured cry of "Papa!" a cry 
in which there was no feeling but of joy 
bliss, and love unutterable; a cry so full of 
angelic affection that it rings in my ears 
still then with a mighty effort drew back, 

"Not me first. Oh, not me first! Mother, 
here's your love. Oh, what a splendid God 
that was to answer my prayer so soon! I 
never will doubt him again." 

"My love" faintly whispered Mary, slowly 


turning her head toward him. " What do you 
say, my love, my darling ? " 

Their eyes met. So far, the merchant had 
not spoken a word. 

"Oh, no; it can't be; but I thought I saw 
him then. I think I must be dying. Mary, 
come here. I am going go " and the weary 
lids closed, and the feeble breath seemed to 
cease entirely. 

" Mary, my love, my darling, my angel, speak 
to me ! I am here. Your own precious husband. 
Open your eyes. God is good, darling. We 
shall never be parted again." And in a second 
more the limp figure was in his arms. Up and 
down the seven-by-nine apartment he walked, 
pressing kiss after kiss upon cheek, lip, and eye, 
calling her by the most endearing epithets. Oh ! 
that the whole world could have seen that 
reunion. I don't care how straight-laced or 
orthodox or conventional they might have been, 
every other feeling would have been swallowed 
up in the one glorious idea of love. 

"She has fainted," I ventured to suggest. 
" Would it not be well to bathe her head and 


face with cold water?" fearful that he would 
extinguish altogether the little spark of life 

" Do not be alarmed," he replied. " She is 
reviving. Joy seldom kills, you know." And, 
sure enough, as he spoke, the trembling lids 
unclosed, and the recognition was complete. 
The first words she uttered were, 

" Charles, am I dreaming ? or am I in heaven ? 
But then you don't know all. Oh, dearest' 
what sent you back to me? You can never 
forgive me." 

" Mary ! " and the merchant laid the invalid 
back upon her pillows. "Mary, my own pre- 
cious wife, I implore that you will consider me 
wholly responsible for the past, whatever that 
past may have been, and please never revert to 
it again. I am free from all legal ties, and you 
shall be mine in a few moments by human law, 
as you have always been by the divine. "When 
you are stronger, I will make many things plain 
to you ; and now, my daughter" 

The child's face was as pale as death; but 


with a joyful cry she bounded into his arms, 
and hid her head in his neck. 

"All I could have asked," he murmured. 
"As sweet and as beautiful as the heart of a 
parent could desire." 

"What long whiskers; and how black they 
are; and what big eyes you have got, papa; 
and how much they are like mine, and mother^ ; 
and how handsome you are ; and oh, dear 
Heavenly Father ! how much I love him ; but, 
papa, what a long time you have been coming" 

This was more than the strong man could 

"Yes, darling," he replied. "But I have 
sought you day and night, until my heart was 
almost broken." And then he burst into tears. 

"Oh, don't, papa! please don't! No more 
tears now. God has fixed it all right. If it 
had come before, we shouldn't have been half 
so happy. Let's be good." 

In a moment more, Mary had tottered out of 
bed, and drawing her husband's hand into her 
bosom, kissed away the tears, and the strong 
arm gathered her once more to her resting-place. 


There they sat, one on each knee, sheltered and 

u Oh ! Mrs. Kirk," said the merchant, a bright 
smile breaking over his handsome features, "I 
wish I had another arm to offer you." 

" I wish you had," I murmured, through blind- 
ing tears ; for to save my life, I could not help a 
sort of " out-in-the-cold " feeling which was any- 
thing but agreeable. 

" Next to my wife and child, shall I always 
cherish you, if you will let me." And as cherish 
had a very pleasant and protective sound about 
it, extremely soothing to the tired soul, I gave 
him both my hands on "cherish," and this 
is about all. An hour after, the invalid was 

removed to the Hotel, a minister summoned, 

and the nuptial knot tied ; and now they are at 
home, where, dear reader, I trust your blessing 
will follow them. 


"Life is too short for logic. What I do 
I must do simply. God alone must judge, 

For God alone shall guide. 

I have snapped opinion's chains, and now Til soar 
Up to the blazing sunlight, and be free." 




]OO short for logic!" Ay, too short! So 
let us now for a while shut our eyes 
upon syllogisms, formalities, established 
conventionalisms, and legal penumbra, allowing 
heart and common-sense to utter a few words of 
truth and soberness. 

" What could have induced you to give ' Up 
Broadway ' to the world ? " is an inquiry which 
has been made thousands of times since its pub- 
lication. " I cannot conceive how you dared tell 
such a story." "The world is not ready for 
such fearless exposition of sentiment." "Some 
things will not bear ventilating, and ' Up Broad- 
way ' tends to immorality." " It is simply impos- 
sible for a woman who has once sinned, as did 
the heroine of your story, to be possessed of any 
purity of thought." " A man is a fool to trust 
a woman under such circumstances," etc. 



The above are just a few quotations from the 
scores of letters I have received in reference to 
"Up Broadway." The amusing part of the 
business is- that not one of these critical effu- 
sions fails to end without an inquiry as to my 
heroine's whereabouts, how she can be best 
approached ; in many instances requesting let- 
ters of introduction. Does this not tell a won- 
derful story? Does it not plainly demonstrate 
that, under this thick crust of conservatism, 
which must of a necessity beget a vision short- 
ened and distorted, there lies a kindliness and 
nobility of purpose which needs only a few 
mental earthquakes to shock into action. Occa- 
sionally these dreamers are startled from their 
lethargy by an account of some tragic affair, 
which for a moment sends the righteous blood 
in active circulation. Then they stop to think 
and ask what these things mean, and are often 
tempted into the expression of opinions which, 
not unfrequently, frighten themselves. The last 
on the list of horrors was the murder of Albert 
D. Richardson by McFarland ; a man who, for 
love's sake, was most foully murdered, and who 


as surely died a martyr to popular ignorance 
and bigotry as Stephen Polycarp, John Brown, 
or Lincoln. So we go. Richardson is not can- 
onized yet; therefore, every venerable constitu- 
tional conservative, from the Pope at Rome to 
the King of the New York gambling hell, is 
busy hurling at him the greater anathema; and 
every obscure little dog connected with tlie 
press joins in the chorus of howls: and the 
smaller and filthier the animal, the louder his 
squeak on this especial topic; the nobler and 
purer the men who have defended the martyr, 
the intenser the delight with which these curs 
strive to tread them under foot. Some of these 
puppies may grow to be big dogs yet. Who 
knows \ But the majority, we fear, will waddle 
down to their graves growling and snarling, un- 
mourned and unhonored save by their own mon- 
grel brotherhood. 

"Why did Eleanor Kirk write 'Up Broad- 

I will tell you, my poor, fettered, scared-to- 
death friends: First, because "Up Broadway" 
is a faithful history of events which actually 


took place, a wonderful one in some respects, 
I admit, but as true as the sunlight. Secondly, 
because I felt it to be a duty, a most imper- 
ative duty, that I owed to the thousands of 
women, who, through cold and hunger, heart 
and soul starvation, have been driven to des- 
peration and prostitution, to show them what 
one woman, by the aid of kindness and rightly- 
directed sympathy, has been able to accom- 
plish. Thirdly, because I felt that the world 
needed just such a history, and it was high 
time that these one-sided, straight-laced, unfor- 
giving, canting members of society should 
thoroughly understand that another than Christ 
had for love's sweet sake forgiven a woman! 
And lastly, because my soul reaches longingly 
out not only toward the oppressed and down- 
trodden of my own sex, but to all those who 
are bound by the fetters of an unloved, uncon- 
genial matrimonial alliance. Although women 
may be, and undoubtedly are, by reason of 
larger sensitiveness and less physical force, the 
greater sufferers from such unions, yet it is the 
height of folly to predicate that women only 


are made miserable by this non-conformity of 
affection and natural temperament. I know of 
women to-day whom an angel from Heaven 
could not live with in peace and harmony, and 
would probably not try after one day's experi- 
ence, because, let us hope, that with the higher 
light and knowledge which men must attain to 
in another state of existence, they understand that 
which it would be well for many poor, unhappy, 
struggling wretches to understand on earth, 
that a marriage without love is no marriage at 
all. I realize to what I am exposing myself. 
"An advocate of free love!" I hear some of 
you say. "Yes, sir; yes, madam; free love! 
Not according to your definition of the term, 
however. Love, the genuine article, the divine, 
earnest, glorious affection which makes men 
and women willing to be scouted at, despised, 
injured, maimed, and martyred for its precious 
sake, is always free. Fetter it if you can; im- 
prison it, and it will gush out from between 
every bar, and make the earth glad with its 

I abhor and turn my back upon the lust and 


licentiousness which characterize the devotees 
of this comparatively new doctrine. What do 
men and women know of love who have no 
wish or thought beyond the gratification of 
their sensual desires? What do worms and 
toads understand of the glory of God's uni- 
verse? Still we cannot help seeing, although 
we admit it with pain, that this immoral 
state of the community is chiefly attributable 
to the fearful amount of prostitution in mar- 
riage. In other words, men and women, tiring 
of each other, discovering too late to be of ser- 
vice that there is no bond of sympathy between 
them, realizing that the law cannot interfere 
in such cases, start out in pursuit of something 
which they are unable to find at home. Many, 
it is true, wear these fetters meekly, making 
no attempt to escape, either righteously or other- 
wise, from the thraldom of an unloved, un- 
happy marriage relation. Not a few believe 
it their duty to stay and suffer, and so sacri- 
fice health, comfort, and everything which 
makes life endurable, to a morbid, and, when 
rightly viewed and analyzed, a wicked observ- 


ance of a law which it seems to me could 
never have been framed for the intelligent, 
intellectual nineteenth century. 

"I do not love him; he is unkind to me; 
he never consults my wishes ; I loathe the very 
idea of being brought in close personal contact 
with him: what shall I do?" asks more than 
one woman in New York to-day. 

" Why, leave him ; allow him to go his way 
in peace; you go yours." 

"But the laws of the State will not allow 
me a divorce for unkindness, or brutal treat- 
ment even. I am not prepared to prove that 
my husband is untrue to me." 

"Exactly, my dear; but that does not alter 
your duty. Women, strangely enough, seem to 
have imbibed an idea that when they are tamely 
submitting to neglect and abuse, to fault-finding, 
and blows perhaps, that they are doing God 
service ; that because, according to a ridiculous 
statute which insists that the two joined together 
by priest, minister, or justice of the peace, God 
has united, they must consequently endure every 
species of indignity which either or both desire 


to inflict. "Wliat a grand thing it will be for 
humanity when men and women learn that no 
men or set of meii, no law or set of laws, can 
bind soul to soul, and that neither powers or 
principalities, things above, or things below, are 
able to separate soul from soul. Will some one 
explain why it is a woman's duty to live with a 
man who abuses or ignores her ? why it is a 
man's duty to remain under the same roof with a 
woman he abhors ? "Who says you shall lie pros- 
trate, and allow this man to tread upon every 
sentiment of right, every noble inspiration and 
impulse? Who says you shall take without a 
murmur every description of abuse and con- 
tumely ? Who says you shall submit to his fiend- 
ish caresses, and bear his children? Who says 
you can be knocked down and dragged out, your 
little ones taught every imaginable wickedness? 
Who says convict your husband or wife of adul- 
tery, no matter how it is accomplished ; employ 
a friend or detective to lead them into the 
haunts of vice, or inveigle them into suspicious 
positions, we will wink at the modus operandi, 
but we have no desire and no power to separate 


what God has joined together for any of the 
above minor causes ? I will tell you : The laws 
of the State of New York. 

Do you still ask why Eleanor Ejrk wrote " Up 
Broadway"? Once more: To give men and 
women courage ; to show them, by the recital of 
a true story, that love is mighty, love is omnipo- 
tent ; and to do away, as far as possible, with the 
old-established idea that marriage, by priest or 
minister, is a God-ordained rite. In the " Sequel " 
she hopes to convince a few, at least, that one 
kind of suicide is as wicked as another, and that 
no human being has a right to throw away or 
tread upon his or her happiness, thereby making 
miserable and shortening the lives which God 
has given. The number of women who have 
gone down to their graves broken-hearted is fear- 
ful to contemplate; and men have been found 
foolish enough to stay and be made miserable by 
heartless and wicked partners. Still, men are 
not fettered by the same laws which bind 
women. A man, failing to find peace and com- 
fort at home, can spend his leisure hours at 
club, lodge, or with the woman or women whose 


society he prefers to his legally-made wife. The 
world knows of this, winks at it, believes in it, 
and pities the poor fellow who is so terribly hen- 
pecked ; and he is received with open arms in 
any society he chooses to enter. Xow let us 
reverse this. What if the wife, disappointed and 
uncomfortable, attempts to solace herself with 
others what then? Why, she is an outcast and 
a reprobate at once, and anathemas both loud 
and deep are hurled at the suffering woman. 
For my own part, I wage no war against this 
treatment of so-called wives by Mrs. Grundy. 
On the contrary, I am glad of it, and consider it 
eminently healthy, but fail to understand why 
husbands are not subjected to the same social 
treatment. While the relations of husband and 
wife are sustained by the parties bound, neither 
party has the least moral right to seek solace and 
entertainment in the society of the opposite sex. 
Both honor and common decency forbid it. It 
is only when such relations have entirely ceased 
when the husband and wife, after careful 
and conscientious effort, discover that harmony is 
a condition unattainable, having previously given 


fair warning of his or her determination to quit 
forever, that the question of happiness from 
another quarter should be considered for a 
moment. Then comes the God-given right to 
seek comfort, if it is not already within reach. 
Do not misunderstand or misconstrue, I pray. I 
only wish to convey the idea that it is the duty of 
every human being to be happy, when this 
happiness does not conflict with or mar the com- 
fort of another. The man who lives in husband- 
ly relations with the wife the law has given him, 
must be entirely devoid of every manly attribute 
when he enters into such relations with another. 
No man can be true to two women, no woman to 
two men. This is entirely out of nature, and 
those who thus deliberately set aside morality, 
and decency deserve all the ignominy such 
behavior is sure to entail, and all the contumely 
the world can pile upon them. 

" I have children : what shall I do ? said a 
legally-made wife to me the other day. 

" Do you love the father of those children ? " I 

"Love him? No!" she replied. Neither does 


he love me. Sometimes there are whole weeks 
that we do not speak together even ; then again 
he will be quite pleasant for a day or two. He 
is not only unkind to me, but I know he loves 
another. Until I discovered this, no woman 
ever tried more faithfully than I to please 
a husband ; but it was no use. I am a good 
housekeeper and a good mother; but I have no 
way to earn my living. I don't know how to do 
anything except to take care of my family. 
What is there in the world^for me?" 

Such as these are hard cases, but there can be 
but one answer: "Take your children, if you 
can ^et them, and march out into the world 
anywhere. ^*lace the little ones in the care of 
friends, or in an asylum, if their father will not 
contribute to their support, and then go to work 
at something. Better be a cook, waitress, scul- 
lion even, than an adulteress, than the unwilling 
victim of a man's lust, whose love you know is 
given to an another." 

" But if I remain, my children can be taken 
care of, educated, and brought to fill positions of 
which I may be proud." 


"True, but do you realize that by remaining 
you will probably bring more illegitimate chil- 
dren into the world? for as sure as truth is supe- 
rior to falsehood, virtue to immorality, love to 
lust, every child who is not an offspring of love is 
bastard." Look about among your friends, oh ye 
of little faith, oh ye who have been fettered with 
false ideas and ridiculous quibbles in reference 
to love and duty. Count those among your 
friends whom you believe to be honest in their 
relations with each other, see if you do not find 
those whom even you, bound as you are by the 
world's conventionalisms, believe would be better 
off apart ! No woman owes anything to a man 
who is unkind or unloving ; no man to a woman 
for whom he finds he has no affection or sym- 
pathy that is, so far as the intimate relations 
of husband and wife are concerned. If he have 
sufficient nobility to wish to provide for the 
future of his legal partner until she shall have 
found a w r ay to support herself or be taken care 
of by another, all right, if she feels like accepting 
such assistance. As the woman has most to lose 
by such separation, in a pecuniary point of view, 


it seems to me simply foolish for her to refuse 
pecuniary aid when offered, as many women 
have, to my certain knowledge. There are cases 
of simple uncongeniality, where the parties impli- 
cated are too high toned and well bred to quar- 
rel, and where nothing can be brought against 
either save a non-conformity of taste and affec- 
tion. The same rule applies to this as to others. 
The act of conjugality without true conjugal love 
to inspire it is the meanest, the most despicable 
act to conceive of. It is a direct sin against God, 
a violation of His expressed commands. Thank 
Heaven ! men and women are fast waking up to 
these truths ; and the day that prostitution in so- 
called married life is abandoned, that day will 
show fewer brazen females on our streets and 
fewer adulterers. This woman marries for a 
home and a maintenance ; this man because the 
woman is beautiful, accomplished, and sought 
after by others ; or she is rich, and of aristocratic 
parents. Everything under the sun is brought 
into matrimony except the very question which 
legitimately belongs there, the question of fit- 
ness, adaptability, soul-fitness and sympathy, in 


other words, love. Many are linked by the law 
of whom nothing detrimental can be said. They 
are honest, conscientious persons, members of the 
same church, perhaps, and yet they do not agree. 
They irritate and annoy each other, and two 
lives are made more miserable than words can 
describe. Neither can understand the reasons 
for such disagreement, because both are perfectly 
aware of each other's good qualities. Now, this 
is easily explained. There are, we know, chemi- 
cal properties which no amount of coaxing will 
cause to unite. Oil and water, both extremely 
useful ingredients, will not mix, though one 
should stir forever. So some persons, pure and 
unexceptional in character, will not blend for 
similar reasons ; and it is the height of folly to 
break one's heart in the vain attempt to bring into 
congenial relations souls which were never in- 
tended to mate. The only argument which pre- 
sent conservatives bring upon this matter, is, 
" How is a man or woman going to know when 
he or she has found the mate? Many marry, not 
only believing that they love, but that the object 
of their love is endowed with every imaginable 


virtue. After a short married experience they 
discover their mistake. What then? Shall they 
leave these partners and try it again? If so, 
what guarantee can you give that another mis- 
take shall not be made ? " The answer to this, 
it seems to us, must be that there is no such thing 
as an absolute guarantee possible. in any human 
affairs. To do the best one can is all that is 
required of poor humanity. That a man and 
woman stand before a priest, and vow to love, 
honor, and cherish each other till death, is cer- 
tainly no guarantee that they will do so. And 
when this man and woman find, after mutual and 
conscientious effort, that they are absolutely 
unable to keep that vow; that, instead of attract- 
ing, they repel each other more and more Jhe 
longer they live together, it is difficult for any 
reasonable person to understand why they should 
remain in bondage. Then as to the forming of 
a second tie. The guarantee against a second 
mistake must lie with the individuals themselves. 
In proportion as they have availed themselves of 
the benefits of experience ; in proportion as they 
are pure, and of matured and cultivated judg- 


ment ; in proportion as they make conjugal love 
a part of their religion, and enter into it purely 
and unselfishly, they will be guaranteed against 
all failure in love relations. The great fact that 
very few separations take place in the case of 
those who have married from pure, unbiased 
choice is the most powerful of all arguments. 
Most marriages are, to more or less extent, mar- 
riages de convenance. Ambition and necessity 
rule women in their choice of husbands far more 
than love. All the business of this life is ex- 
perimental. Nothing is absolutely guaranteed; 
everything must be tried for ; and all protestant- 
ism is but a slipping off of the guaranteed noose. 
Do you still ask why Eleanor Kirk wrote " Up 
Broadway ? " First, because the story was true, 
and she considered it right to do so, and felt that 
hosts of struggling women would be awakened 
to a sense of their terrible positions, and by the 
simple narrative given strength to conquer. The 
courage to publish it must have come from above, 
for that it required a few grains of this ex- 
tremely useful quality she has no wish to deny. 
Had she not been on the most intimate terms 


with a woman who had suffered in her own per- 
son every description of abuse and indignity 
possible to conceive of, she would not probably 
have been so deeply interested in the woes of 
ethers. "A fellow feeling makes us wondrous 
kind." Not that there was any similarity in the 
species of suffering, not the slightest ; but con- 
tact with misery had aroused her most loving 
sympathies, and, consequently, made her more 
willing to be of service to the down-trodden. 


Let Eleanor tell you about this woman, and then 
see if you wonder that she at last gained strength 
to cry out against all kinds of intolerance. 

Some years ago there lived in a small country 
town a young woman whose education, moral 
and intellectual, had been conducted in the most 
conscientious and loving manner. The utmost 
liberality was shown by her parents on all sub- 
jects religion, politics, and general ethics; 
but on the question of marriage and its duties 
no Roman Catholic bigot could have been more 
unreasonable and uncharitable than was her 
father; and in this atmosphere she grew to be 
a woman, and married. " As you make your 


bed, so must you lie " had been so carefully 
instilled into the mind of our friend that she 
thoroughly realized this union was for life. As 
it happened, the man who had selected her for 
his partner was a refined, earnest gentleman, and 
no cloud arose to dim the light of their pleasant 
intercourse. As it happened, I say, for she was 
very young, a mere child, and her husband was 
some twelve years her senior. What did this 
unsophisticated girl understand of the life she 
was entering upon? Nothing, of course. Mar- 
riage was invested with a sort of couleur-de-rose 
haze, and, from the manner of her educatio^ 
seemed to her the end and aim of every woman's 
ambition. Did she love him \ do you ask. She 
respected him, believed in him ; but the depths 
of her heart had not been stirred. This affec- 
tionate regard could easily pass for the genuine 
article, for the young wife was of an impulsive, 
demonstrative disposition, and had not attained 
to full womanhood that is, she had not come 
to understand the depth and richness of her own 
nature. After a short and painful experience, 
for her husband sickened and died, our friend 


was left a widow with two little ones. Then a 
father's loving arms were outstretched, and under 
the parental roof she and her little ones were 
welcomed and cared for until the " Grim Mon- 
ster" again presented himself and removed her 
sole remaining relative, leaving the daughter 
with her two babies and a sister only one year 
older than her oldest child as heritage. Then 
came the tug of war. How could she best sup- 
port herself and the children entrusted to her 
care ? She was a good scholar, competent to 
teach music or belles-lettres, and without a parti- 
cle of false pride concerning labor. So much 
grevious trouble had shattered the poor child^s 
health, and, mentally as well as physically disa- 
bled, she cast about her for the means of support. 
A few music-scholars were found. This, with 
copying music for a distinguished composer, 
brought her, with care and economy, sufficient 
for the wants of her little family. God only 
knows the anguish of that heart. As has already 
been said, her parents were extremely liberal on 
every subject but that of marriage. She was 
the joy of her father's heart, the light of his 


eyes, and the atmosphere of her home had 
always been redolent with that perfect harmony 
which can only spring from the purest and most 
unselfish affection. What wonder that the world 
seemed to her a wilderness ? What wonder that 
her nights were sleepless, and that as she clasped 
her little sister to her heart, the last fruit of her 
parents' glorious affection, and surveyed her own 
two lusty boys, she half -wished that her parents 
could have taken them all along with them to 
the land where, we have been taught to believe, 
there is no anxiety about what we shall eat or 
wherewithal we shall be clothed ! How could 
she, her whole time devoted to the bread-and-but- 
ter question, find time to train and educate the 
precious souls thus entrusted to her care ! For 
a while she worked nobly, then came temptation 
in the form of a man. 

" I love you," he said. " I will care for 
your little ones. My business position is good. 
I can give you just such a home as you deserve 
to be mistress of. You shall be my wife, 
and no care that love can ward off shall 
come to you or yours." 


Two or three months previous to this offer 
our friend had been steadily and surely fail- 
ing in health. A physician was consulted, 
who said, 

"I would not give three cents for your 
life if you remain here through the coming 
winter. Change of air, change of scene, and 
entire freedom from care, will probably res- 
tore you. Medicine is of no earthly use." 

Another long, wistful look at the poor lit- 
tle ones. She had just commenced to under- 
stand the needs of her own soul. She realized 
that it was in her power to make some one 
exceedingly happy, and that the right kind 
of companionship must develop in her quali- 
ties which, brought to fruition, would make 
this world a very heaven. Could this man 
satisfy the needs of her soul? Could he make 
this wilderness of hers bud and blossom as 
the rose ? JSTo ! That she saw at a glance. 
Could she respect him? She thought she 
could. Could she make him a true, earnest 
wife ? Most certainly. Our friend had been 
too carefully drilled in the moral code to 


ever be false in action or thought, even, to 
the man she had promised to obey. That 
part of her education was perfect, for which 
early training she devoutly thanks God and 
her parents; but for that other twin-sister 
doctrine, which made it imperative for her 
to continue to live with a man who outraged 
every noble sentiment of her soul, she feels 
under no obligations. And here, let me say 
a word to parents. Educate your daughters 
carefully. Provide them with some trade or 
profession by which they can earn their own 
living' if circumstances render it necessary. 
Advise them in regard to their choice of 
husbands, and then if they marry, charge them 
by all that is sacred in soul and body to 
never allow those whom the law calls master 
to impose upon or in any way abuse. Let 
them feel that your arms are always ready 
to clasp them, your loving sympathy awaiting 
them, and make them comprehend that a 
woman can be guilty of no greater sin than 
bringing children into the world whose father 
she had been made to loathe and despise. 


Higher light and intelligence came to the 
subject of our story through suffering of the 
most terrible description, and she cannot fail 
to see that a little judicious training in refer- 
ence to the duty all of God's creatures owe 
themselves, as well as others, would have saved 
her years of misery. 

Well, what should the woman do how 
choose 1 Here was sickness, and probably 
after a few months' longer wrestle with pov- 
erty death. There was a comfortable home, 
education and plenty for her little ones, health 
and strength for herself. 

The man, she reasoned, must love her, or 
he would never wish to marry her with these 
incumbrances. Perhaps, in time, she might 
learn to love him. This is just the place 
where thousands of women totter and fall, 
and the greatest of all reasons for the wretch- 
edness so many bound by the law experience. 

Instruct your daughters, also, in reference 
to love. Be careful to make them understand 
the difference between friendship and love. 
Tell them that a woman may be pleased with 


the society of a man, be really very happy 
in his company, prefer it to others of the 
opposite sex, and yet be not in love with 
him. Drill them so carefully in the different 
sensations experienced by all women that they 
will be quick to analyze and explain. Cause 
them, if possible, to understand that true con- 
jugal love springs from a thorough blending 
of soul ; that it is self-sacrificing, and that the 
questions of maintenance, of dollars and cents, 
of brown-stone fronts and dashing turnouts, 
never enter into it ; that unless they feel 
willing to share discomfort, privation, ay, death 
even, that they know nothing of the love which 
should possess the soul of a wife. 

Our friend had no time to lose. She must 
choose quickly; so, without the least idea that 
she was sinning against her own soul and that 
of another, one evening, after a peculiarly dis- 
tressing day, she placed her hand in her suitor's 
and said, " Your home shall be my home ; " 
and a few weeks after found her his wife. 
They took a house in a neighboring city, and 
here commenced the trouble of her life. She 


soon found that death was no disaster. Her 
darlings had died, loving and blessing her; 
their last words had been heavenly benedic- 
tions ; their kisses and blessings had mingled 
with her tears, and had taken away half the 
sting of parting. How many times in her life 
had she heard those familiar with grief exclaim, 
" Ah ! living trouble is worse than death ! " 
But she had utterly failed to understand its full 
significance. Now it came over her like a great 
flood, she bowed her head, saying, " "Why did 
I murmur when God removed my dear ones ? 
How much better would it have been for my 
children had I kept steadily on and died even, 
than to have placed them under the influence 
and in the power of this bad man." She was 
not a week married before she discovered that 
her husband's intention was to keep constantly 
under the effect of liquor; that when the 
fumes wore off, or were slept, off, he was morose, 
obstinate, and fearfully profane, until he was 
again replenished. She had made a grand mis- 
take. The man who called her wife Lad grossly 
deceived and imposed upon her. What could 


she do about it? Evidently nothing. Early 
training forbade it. "As yon make your bed, 
so shall you lie," was all the reply she received, 
when she questioned her own soul in reference 
to her terrible position. This irrational saying 
has been flung quite long enough at those who 
suffer from an unhappy union, and it is time 
that sensible persons discovered that the whole 
argument upon which is based the idea that 
because one is decoyed into an unpleasant 
position, they shall remain and suffer all the 
misery such position entails is just as flimsy and 
illogical as this : " As you make your bed, so 
shall you lie!" Kidiculous! What woman 
is there so weak or so foolish who would not, 
finding she had failed to spread her couch 
nicely, arise and make it over again ? Yes, and 
keep fixing it until it does suit her! A man 
finds himself in the presence of a fiend whom 
he knows has murder in his soul. Shall he have 
more regard for the madman's bloodthirsty 
desire than he has for his own life ? Does duty 
demand that he furnish him with a pistol to 
blow his brains out? A man rents a house: 


it is represented perfect in every respect. He 
lives in it a while and finds that the chimneys 
are out of order, the flues defective, the roof 
leaky, and the domicile in every respect un- 
tenantable. The landlord obstinately refuses 
to make the premises habitable. What does he 
do about it ? Hemain, and have his eyes smoked 
out, and his children's health destroyed? A 
fool might fear the consequences of removal, 
but a sensible man vacates and tries another. 
Now, marriage is no more binding as a civil 
contract than is this contract between landlord 
and tenant. It is plain to those who will open 
their eyes that no person has the least right to 
remain in a position of fear or perpetual dis- 

Our friend discovered this when it was too 
late to avert the awful consequences. 


YEAR passed; a child was born 
another boy. Her two oldest childen 
were just the right age to carefully 
note the behavior of their step-father and be 
influenced by his example. She kept them as 
much out of the brute's sight as she could, 
and endeavored by patience and diligent care 
to counteract any influence he might exert. 
A thankless task, for a man constantly excited 
by alcoholic stimulants is a despot of the most 
overbearing description. Expostulations were 
entirely unavailing, and after the first year of 
her married life she never attempted to advise 
in reference to behavior, business, or the man- 
agement of children. Such conversations had 
invariably ended with a disturbance, from the 
effect of which it was impossible to recover. 
Now, look: In the commencement she did 
13 (193) 


not love him; had persuaded herself that she 
respected him, and that this esteem would form 
a foundation upon which could be built suffi- 
cient affection to last through her earthly pil- 
grimage. Mistaken wof ully mistaken ! Every 
woman who marries with such feelings and 
for such reasons will sooner or later awaken to 
the sense of her degradation. There is no way 
of evading it. Through fault-finding, profanity, 
and every imaginable abuse, this woman plod- 
ded along, with not a ray of light to illumine 
her rugged pathway. She was too proud to 
impart the terrible particulars of her every- 
day life, and consequently suffered alone. Did 
they have visitors, there was nothing too much 
that this most unnatural husband and father 
could do to demonstrate his affection for his 
family ; but as soon as the door closed upon 
their guests he would immediately relapse into 
his old moods and probably commit some fla- 
grant act of cruelty to pay for this exhibition 
of tenderness and good nature. So the years 
passed on. Another little one was born. Dis- 
sipation had now come to be felt in business, 


and, after repeated efforts to reclaim this 
strangely besotted man, he was finally dismissed 
from the firm, and found himself without the 
means of earning a dollar. From bad to worse 
he then went. "Words are powerless to describe 
his utter fiendishness, his lack of every manly 
attribute. Night after night the suffering wife 
watched for his returning footsteps, sometimes 
until almost daybreak, fearing to go to bed 
lest he might find her asleep and murder her. 
When he found that nothing he could do or 
say to her would provoke a reply, he would 
frighten her about the children. More than 
once he has torn the sleeping infant from its 
warm rest in its loving mother's arms, placed it 
on the marble mantel, and there, for a time 
which seemed an eternity to the distressed 
mother, make it remain, struggling and shriek- 
ing. If she attempted to go to the child's 
rescue, as she had on several occasions, the brute 
would immediately knock her down. After a 
wm'le baby would be thrown upon the bed, 


" Take your brat ; and I'll give him just two 
minutes to stop his howling I " 

"A fool to remain and endure such treat- 
ment," do you say ? Give us your hand : those 
are my sentiments. 

" Better her children should starve." ' 

So 1 say. But do you not see that she was 
simply a victim to the idea that a legal mar- 
riage is a God-instituted ordinance, instead of 
the civil contract it most certainly is ? " Whom 
God hath joined together, let not man put asun- 
der," she applied, like many others, to all those 
who stand up before priest or minister and take 
upon themselves matrimonial vows, whether true 
to these vows or not. 

The children were not allowed to attend 
church or Sabbath-schools. Did he find one 
of them reading, the book was immediately 
burned. The " Sunday Mercury" and "Herald " 
his wife was permitted to peruse ; but no maga- 
zine, no library book, nothing of a standard 
character was allowed in the house. In this 
cruel manner, starved intellectually and socially, . 
t this misguided woman performed what she con- 


sidered to be her duty. Duty? Good heavens! 
what a misnomer! In the name of all that is 
good, sensible and reasonable, what did she owe 
this brute ? And what did she not owe herself 
and children? 

"Did she wake up at last?" 

Yes ; have a little patience, and I will give 
you full particulars, because I lived with that 
woman. Another child was born ; this time a 
dear little girl. The pangs of poverty were now 
keenly felt. There had been no steady occupa- 
tion since the first grand smash-up. The babe 
was born in the depth of winter. There was 
not a particle of wood or coal in the house, and 
very little to eat. What could be done ? She 
was alone with her children no one to assist, 
or be of the least service. She finally sent for a 
neighbor, and made a clean breast of her terribly 
poverty-stricken condition. Material for fire was 
forthwith produced, things made comfortable, a 
physician sent for, and at ten o'clock the little 
one was ushered into the world. A few mo- 
ments previous to its birth the father came in 
cursing, and, noting the state of affairs, walked 


deliberately out and was not heard from until 
hours after. The convalescence from this illness 
was something remarkable. Without a nurse, 
dependent upon the kindness of neighbors, she 
gained steadily and surely, and in a month's time 
was able to take her place in the family. With- 
out understanding the reason for such a change 
of sentiment, our friend had been completely 
revolutionized. Sometimes I have whispered to- 
ner that perhaps the difference in gender accom- 
plished this change of feeling ; but she invaria- 
bly shrugs her shoulders at the suggestion. Be 
this as it may, the birth of the little girl was the 
commencement of a new order of things. She 
no longer cringed and trembled at her husband's 
approach. He saw the difference, remarked upon 
it, and was thoroughly mystified. Again she ob- 
tained a few music-scholars, and endeavored to 
assist in maintaining the family. Still the de- 
mon alcohol reigned supreme. Never apparently 
intoxicated enough to stagger, or appear like 
most men when under the influence of liquor, 
he was nevertheless thoroughly drunk from one 
week's end to another. Valuables were sold to 


satisfy this fiendish appetite, and at last came 
the grand finale. One morning, after having 
destroyed a set of shirts she had just finished, 
on account of some imagined misfit about the 
neck, after tearing into shreds the little one's 
under-garments, locking the door and removing 
the key the while, so that she should be com- 
pelled to remain and witness the destruction, 
finding that failed to extort a word of disappro- 
bation, or an ill-natured remark, he seized the 
sleeping infant from its crib and threatened to 
dash its brains out against the mantel. With 
the strength of a maniac she snatched the child 
from its heartless parent, and defied him ; then, 
entirely overcome with the terrible disgrace of 
her position, fell upon her knees and implored 
Divine aid. 

" Separate us, O Father ! " she cried. " Ee- 
move me and mine from the influence of this 
bad man ! Separate us by death, if it seemeth 
right in Thy sight; if not, place distance be- 
tween us, and help me in my newly formed 
resolve to do my duty by myself and my chil- 


dren ! Guide and guard, O Father, and give me 
strength to conquer ! " 

" Good ! " exclaimed the brute, as she 

arose from her knees, full of faith that her 
prayer would be answered. " Do you feel as 
bad as that ? " and without another word he un- 
locked the door and left the house. There was 
a terrible something in her manner which, reck- 
less and fallen as he was, checked further display 
of brutality, and awed him into a cessation of 
hostilities. Nothing but utter desperation could 
have driven her to her knees in his presence, for 
he had always sneered at every high-toned ex- 
pression or noble sentiment. She had never 
dared to speak of God or His attributes, as the 
least approach to religious subjects would pro- 
voke the most fearful language possible tp con- 
ceive of. 

" Your prayer is answered, Nell," said he, 
coming in late the same afternoon. " I have 
to-day had an agency offered me, which I have 
concluded to accept. "Will you help me get 
ready ? I shall leave for the West to-morrow 


Never did woman set about a pleasanter 
task. She was to receive a sum weekly from 
her husband's employer sufficient for the com- 
fortable support of her family. Perhaps, she 
argued, when separated from his bacchanalian 
companions he may understanding by bitter 
experience how difficult it is for a man to ob- 
tain a business position after having been igno- 
ininiously discharged from a first-class firm go 
about his work with a determination to succeed. 
Still she felt that her position was a very preca- 
rious one, and decided that she would endeavor, 
with the assistance of a few friends, to obtain 
some employment by which she might earn in* 
dependence for herself and darlings. She could 
not afford a servant, and thus the whole care and 
drudgery of the establishment devolved upon her, 
weak and trembling from ill-treatment and over- 
exertion. She consulted with her sister, who, 
young as she was, had graduated from a public 
school with the highest honors of her class and a 
scholarship. For this the child had labored m- 
defatigably, and when she discovered the prize 
was hers her joy knew no bounds. 


"It is mine, sister! It is mine!" she ex- 
claimed. " Now I can have a thorough classical 
education. All you will have to do will be to 
buy my books and make me "presentable." 

" It shall be accomplished some way," de- 
clared the senior, although she knew it would 
require almost superhuman exertion on her part. 
If the salary continued she thought it would be 
possible to carry out the pet plan, and also to 
keep her two oldest boys at school, and person- 
ally superintend their education; and the end 
she knew would amply compensate for all the 
weariness and heart-ache which must inevitably 
attend a life entirely devoted to the physical and 
intellectual needs of others. But God she knew 
would smile on such efforts ; and with a heart 
full of gratitude that her prayer had been 
answered, and the man whose name she bore 
removed from herself and children, went bravely 
to work, Four music-scholars were obtained, the 
sum derived from such teaching to be devoted 
to educational purposes. The girl-baby ten 
months old was drilled to take very good care 
of herself, and while these lessons were going on 


sat in her little chair close by, and added many 
a delicious tremulant to the solfeggios of 
her pupils' instruction-books ; while three-year- 
old Josey sat in state on the sofa, vaguely under- 
standing that mamma was engaged in something 
which required not only her closest attention, but 
his best behavior. So the days wore until the so- 
called husband and father had been gone two 
weeks. Then came a crash which threatened to 
completely crush both strength and ambition. 
The house agent called. Our friend had been 
given to understand that the rent for that month 
had been paid. The agent, however, represented 
it otherwise, and having had the most disgraceful 
experience in reference to payments of this kind, 
had no thought qf questioning the claim of the 
landlord. For some reason, which Nellie could 
not for her life understand, he chose to work 
himself into a fury exceedingly unbecoming to 
a man of his excessively contemptible appear^ 
ance ; for anger is too dignified a passion to be 
indulged in by a man without soul, . He coolly 
informed her that he knew her husband did not 
intend to pay the rent, and that he supposed her 


intentions were similar ; that she undoubtedly 
had money in her possession, and had better 
"fork over." The first statement was quite as 
clear to her as to the intruder. The male occu- 
pant of the premises had never intended to settle 
any bills which had the least reference to the 
comfort of his family. The other taunts were 
not at all calculated to soothe the spirit of our 
rather impetuous friend. She gave him a tem- 
perate explanation of the disabilities of the case, 
and a promise that he should be partly paid the 
coming week, on the receipt of her weekly allow- 
ance. It was of no avail. Finding that he still 
persisted in his insulting demeanor, threatening 
to serve a writ of ejection upon her, she rose to 
the level of the occasion, and informed him that 
possession was nine points of the law ; that while 
she occupied the mansion it was her castle ; and 
that if his own instincts did not serve him to find 
the door, the aid of a policeman would be in- 
voked. Whereupon he left, but soon returned 
with an officer, who served the writ upon her 
without mercy. Here was a situation for a deli- 
cate woman, with a baby of ten months old, and 


four other children, besides her young sister, to 
provide for. A kind neighbor consenting to care 
for the babies in her absence, she sallied forth, 
strong in mother love, but weak in courage, 
to try to find a shelter for those little heads so 
precious to her. In vain! Rooms there were 
in plenty, but not for women with little 
children and without husbands to secure the 
payment of the rent. Ay, Nellie was dis- 
couraged, and yet her dismay did not prevent 
indignation. " Because I am a woman is every 
door to be thus shut against me?" she asked 
herself. "Have not I hands to labor? Have I 
not a willing heart, as well as a man ? and can- 
not these dolts see that there is honest purpose in 
my eyes, and intense resolution written in every 
line of my face ? " Surely any one who had the 
least knowledge of physiognomy, either by book- 
learning or by natural instinct, could not have 
failed to see that there was a spirit in the woman 
that the delicate and frail tenement it inhabited 
could scarely suffice to hold. Such a one would 
not have doubted that she would have died 
rather than not do and dare anything for her 


babes. It was the eagle with broken wing, in- 
deed, but an eagle still, intent on her eyrie, and 
never to be content until her eaglets' mouths 
should be filled and the nest made comfortable. 
Such a woman can never stop when her mater- 
nal duties are done. Winnowing the void air in 
pursuit of food and shelter had likewise opened 
her eyes to new views of life, new duties, and 
new objects of endeavor. She now saw how her 
own sex was enslaved. Strange, it had never 
come home to her before. She noted how com- 
pletely avenues of successful labor were closed 
to them ; how every arrangement of society 
had reference to their imprisonment in some 
form or other. Looking at her own arms, 
chafed with the iron . of her own fetters, her 
eyes were opened to see the same scars on 
millions of her sisters. The great question 
of the "rights of women" assumed gigantic 
proportions, and while travelling from house 
to house, and agent to agent, her whole heart- 
aching, soul-harrowing experience passed in 
review before her. Never before had she given 
the subject the least consideration. True, she 

VT BfiOADWAY. 207 

had heard of Miss Anthony, and Mrs. Stanton, 
and a few others who were laboring for what 
they termed the emancipation of woman. Old 
prejudices, early training, a lack of ability to 
keep up with the times, had, strangely enough, 
placed the workers in this movement in anything 
but a favorable light. They had always ap- 
peared to her like bold, if not immodest women, 
and the very idea of a woman's desiring the 
ballot was quite sufficient to condemn her in the 
eyes of our friend. Now she plainly saw that 
simply because she was not a citizen, or, in other 
words, had not a legal right to live and labor 
like her brother, she was denied a roof to 
shelter her children. While waiting at the 
office of a house agent for the clerk to make 
out a list of unoccupied rooms, a man stepped 
up to the desk and inquired for apartments. 

"Here you are," said the clerk, mentioning 
a part of a house which he had just denied 
her on account of her children. Mortified and 
annoyed that, simply on account of a difference 
of sex, this biped by her side, who did not look 
as if he possessed sufficient vim to take care 


of himself, could have just what he desired, 
without being asked a single question, she re- 
marked to the agent, 

"But, sir, you must certainly have forgotten 
to make any inquiries in reference to the gen- 
tleman's family." 

"You mean children, I suppose," laughed 
the agent. "But have you not found out that 
a man looking for a house with a family of 
children is a very different affair from a 
woman in the same situation? You have 
stated to us that your husband is away from 
home, and have not said a word about security. 
This man I know ; he has a trade, and I shall 
have no difficulty in collecting my rent. That's 
where the rub comes, my dear woman." 

"Why hadn't you told me this in the first 
place," she indignantly made answer, "instead 
of trying to make me believe my children were 
the only obstacles?" 

" Oh ! " replied the smooth-tongued proprietor, 
"we do prefer to rent these rooms to a man 
and his wife; but when we are well acquainted 
with the parties, as in this instance, you can 


see yourself that it makes all the difference in 
the world." 

Yes, indeed ; she plainly saw that there was 
all the difference in the world between men 
and women, in pursuit of the same object, and 
that custom manufactured by an erroneous 
idea of a masculine kingship in the world 
had placed woman in the condition of a being 
who could exist only by sufferance in the royal 
domain of her lord and master. 

"What is this marriage?" she asked herself, 
w r ith bitter inward searching. "Here am 1, a 
woman, with loves, hopes, aspirations, and a 
sense of growing wings, and a panting after the 
pure atmosphere of truth and reality. Shams 
have come to be miasma to my soul ; and there 
is that man, low, grovelling, sensual; farther 
from me in spirit than east is from the west; 
more diverse from me in his tastes and pur- 
suits than is the carrion kite from the eagle, 
and behold, he holds the key of my being, and 
is supposed to lock and unlock at his pleasure 
the receptacle of my will. He is the arbiter 
of my destiny, the lawful owner of my body, 


my soul, my time, my earnings, my children. 
He can live with me, and provide for me when 
it pleases him; and when his tastes so incline 
him he can leave me to seek his own pleasure, 
and utterly fail to provide either for me or for 
the children I have borne. He can exhaust all 
his ingenuity in devising petty cruelties to 
inflict on me and mine. He can subject me 
to his unnatural lusts, and my babies to his 
vile example and teachings. And in all this I 
am utterly powerless. The law furnishes me 
no escape. There is only one loop-hole of 
release from this most horrible slavery, and 
that is the possibility of being able to prove 
him guilty of adultery in flagrantc delicto. 
The fact that he is a most gross adulterer, and 
has daily sought to debase me and mine to his 
own beastly level, does not avail me: the law 
has no reference to motives, but only to acts; 
and no reference to acts not admissible of the 
strictest proof. Two facts stand out pre-emi- 
nently : First, I am a woman possessed of no 
political rights, and consequently shut out from 
all social privileges and remunerative employ- 


ment, and on this account denied even a roof 
to shelter my children ; and next, I am a 
legally-made wife, and the law makes it dis- 
graceful for such a one to take the first step 
towards freedom." 

Cast down, yet not quite in despair, for in 
some strange, incomprehensible manner the 
mere turning over of these questions in her 
mind had given a force to her will which 
made fighting a deal easier than it had first 
appeared, our friend enters the house that she 
feels is no longer a shelter for her and her 
precious ones. What shall she do ? The heav- 
ens were dark to her; light seemed to have 
faded out of the sky. "Where will she and her 
children go, when the cruel summons comes to 
leave their present quarters? She stood look- 
ing moodily and carelessly out of the window, 
as though she were trying to realize that out 
of doors was all that was left her, and to 
study the possibility of any comfort, any char- 
ity, any hope being able to come to her out of 
the cold, hard pavement, or the chill November 


"Has God forsaken me?" she asked herself; 
"and is this the fruit I am to reap after 
my weary planting? Yerily, it is Dead Sea 
fruit, and all the bitterer that my children 
must eat it as well as I." 

But God had not forsaken her. He had yet 
need of her. A friend and neighbor entered 
at this juncture a lady in every way fitted 
to sympathize with and assist our friend. 
Warm-hearted and possessed of ample means, 
she at once volunteered to advance her what 
was needed to help her out of her present 
trouble. With this sudden and unexpected 
lifting of the cloud that had obscured her 
prospects, came corresponding joy; for she 
was one of those chameleon natures that take 
the color of what they feed on; and as hith- 
erto the bitter waters had filled her soul, so 
now the sweet wine of human sympathy 
cheered her heart like a medicine. Pressing 
her babies to her heart, in a transport of re- 
newed hope and joy, she hurried down to 
the agent with the money which was to secure 
her another month at least of proprietorship 


of house and home. No mercenary tyrant 
would now, for a time at least, dare to ques- 
tion her right to the protection of a roof. 
Oh! the blessed sense of having a right some- 
where to a spot that we could call home, 
a right that no other human being can dis- 
pute. This sense was Nellie's as now she 
retraced her steps to her own home, the 
home where all her treasures were gathered. 
But the cup of joy is never unmixed in this 
world. That very evening our heroine was 
to discover that the weekly stipend she was 
to receive from her husband's employer had 
failed her. The merchant for whom he had 
gone as commercial traveller informed her 
that he could pay no more salary until her 
legal protector (?) should have been heard 
from, as the latter had valuable samples that 
might easily be turned to pecuniary account. 
Nellie, being a reasonable women, could not 
but see the justice of . this, hard as it was for 
her to accept the consequences. The mer- 
chant's conduct was kind and gentlemanly, 
though, of course, his hopes that she would 


get along, etc., seemed rather like the offer 
of a fair-looking stone in the place of the 
bread she was so much in need of. She had 
not yet learned the hard lesson that subse- 
quent contact with the world taught her, that 
while simple justice was a scarce commodity 
in society, generosity was still scarcer; and 
that a woman, exposing her heart to the .sharp 
corners of business life, must either suffer or 
grow callous. Nothing was heard from the 
derelict spouse. Thrown now entirely upon 
her own resources, our friend began at once 
to call her forces together. The eldest boy 
was taken from school and placed in a tea- 
broker's office in "Wall street ; the second, a 
mere child, obtained a situation in a store, as 
cash-boy. The young sister, whose progress 
as a scholar had elicited such high hopes of 
ultimate distinction, was also taken from her 
studies and obliged to contribute towards the 
great work of bread-winning. The music pu- 
pils were but few, and the proceeds from that 
quarter totally inadequate for the support of 
the family. Work of some kind must be 


solicited, and that speedily. The first thing 
done in the needlework line was some em- 
broidery for Lord & Taylor. The young sis- 
ter applied in answer to an advertisement, 
and on giving satisfactory references was al- 
lowed the privilege of elaborately embroider- 
ing a child's heavy pique cloak and cape, for 
which, after ten days' steady work, she was 
allowed the munificent sum of one dollar and 
seventy-five cents. True, both embroiderers 
were entirely unskilled, and true that one 
accustomed to such work could have accom- 
plished it in half the time ; but that the 
compensation was in no way proportionate to 
the amount of labor, all must perceive who 
have the least conception of the number of 
delicate stitches elaborately-made garments of 
this description require. No more embroidery 
was of course attempted. Work must be 
sought, and a kind of work that would fill 
the children's mouths. With a courageous 
heart our little friend applied to various fam- 
ilies at random. Strange to say, she met with 
considerable success. Her sweet, earnest ex- 


pression, so full of honest purpose and deter- 
mination to succeed, went straight to the 
hearts of many women, who, engrossed in 
domestic and social duties, scarcely ever give 
a thought to the struggling millions crying 
out for the means of honest livelihood. But 
oh! who shall tell, as it ought to be told, of 
the covert insult and suspicion which she was 
obliged to encounter of the many snares laid 
for her tender feet? Does the correct and 
prosperous and polite world know to what 
suspicion and insolent advances a young and 
pretty woman exposes herself, who dares, being 
poor and hungry, to seek for work? For in- 
stance, our friend advertised for shirts to 
make. Answers to these advertisements were 
plentiful. Young men called, not with the 
intention of having shirts made, but with the 
understanding that the advertisement was a 
ruse to cover some less respectable proposi- 
tion. One man called, and, seating himself, 
very cavalierly began a conversation on the 
general topics of the day. The advertisement 
was reverted to by the ladies, but the sugges- 


tion was waived by the intruder, and subjects 
entirely irrelevant to the shirt question at 
issue discussed very intelligently; for the man 
was well educated and unusually brilliant. 
His questions were answered in a quiet and 
lady-like manner, and then business again re- 
verted to by the hostess. A strange smile 
played around the villain's handsome mouth 
as he replied, 

"Shirts, ladies? Shirts? I cannot for the 
life of me understand why ladies^ of your 
elegant appearance should advertise for shirts 
to make. Some other style of invitation would 
have answered your purpose just as well, 

"And," interrupted the elder sister, rising, 
"you have evidently entirely mistaken the 
motives which prompted the insertion of that 
advertisement. You will have the kindness, 
sir, to leave the house as quickly as you can 
make it convenient." 

"With a muttered curse the scamp left. Hav- 
ing never seen this man before, it might be 
thought the probabilities were that this would 


be the last time the ladies would meet him. 
But although in the kaleidoscope changes of this 
life of ours the same combinations rarely occur, 
it does happen once in a while, by some inscruta- 
ble agency, and for some strange purpose, that 
the very persons whom one would wish to avoid, 
and be unrecognized by, are the ones met. 
When, after a little time, our friends, by their 
success in the branch of literature they had un- 
dertaken, were able once again to enter the 
circle of society from which their poverty had 
for years debarred them, it was their fortune 
frequently to meet this man who had been 
ready to insult them in their need. It is need- 
less to say he was what is popularly termed a 
" ladies' man ;" and though there were more 
than whispered surmises afloat of immoralities 
which, were society on a really moral basis, 
would be sufficient to ostracize the perpetrator 
from the pale of every decent family in the 
community, he was courted, flattered, and 
pampered by almost every woman he met. 
Mothers invited the polished rottenness to their 
homes, and seated him at their tables by their 


daughters, whom, had they been the guilty 
partners of his offence, they, the mothers 
who bore them, would have doomed to exile 
from home, or at least to the utmost social ex- 
clusion. He was courted, not as a man, but as a 
husband. His great wealth and the appoint- 
ments of an elegant establishment were objects 
of envy to the opposite sex. These he could 
give to the wife whose education had fitted her 
for nothing better than the life of a mute bird 
in a gilded cage, of a petted slave in a palace. 
As a man, he might be vile, reckless, and devil- 
ish; as a legalized husband, the union blessed 
by the blasphemously misconstrued words of di- 
vinity, "Whom God hath joined together let 
not man put asunder," he might own and do as 
he pleased with the wife who was sold to him. 
This is what the laws of the State of New 
York and the tone of society bring us to. This 
is the effect of that system of education and 
misconstruction of Christianity which gives us 
two moral codes, one for man and another for 
woman, instead of the same law for both. 
Not for all the world would I have women 


less pure than they are, not for all the world 
would I have them allowed the license that is 
given to men ; but I would have men obliged 
to hold their positions by as stern rules as they 
demand women to live by. I would have them 
feel under obligations to be as clean and pure 
as they expect their wives and sisters to be; 
and, above all, I would have women demand 
it of them. The majority of women (shame 
that it should be true) are exacting to the 
uttermost with women. If a sister slips she 
must fall; and fallen, she must be trampled 
down into the very mud of disgrace and deg- 
radation by her own sex, while they smile upon, 
and perhaps rnarry, her seducer. "Women shut 
the doors of society against her, and she may 
walk the streets hell ward, even into its very 
chasm, and be swallowed up by the whirlpool 
of pollution, while the tempter and partner of 
her sin is feted and caressed by morally severe 
matrons, and their daughters, carefully in- 
structed in blandishments, and drilled in arts, 
are set as baits to trap him into matrimony. 
!Nbne who really understand the working of 


that moral sham which is known as good society 
will deny the truth of this statement. "Women 
are educated for but one purpose marriage. 
Not for its duties, either, but its position, and 
what they are taught to regard as its protection. 
If these fail them, they are left either to a de- 
grading dependence or to a weary struggle for 
independence against such obstacles as we have 
cited, and hundreds of others which men, in 
adopting a career or profession can know noth- 
ing of. The morality of our society does not 
demand that a pure affection should be the 
motive to this union which it professes to con- 
sider so sacred that nothing but death may 
dissolve it, unless it be the one crime of adultery. 
It may be policy, it may be lust of the eyes, 
or lust of the flesh, or the pride of the world 
that imites the two in this bond. Society and 
our laws, our church even, demand nothing of 
the motive so the rite is consummated. Mar- 
riage is sacred, says the oracle. As if any form, 
civil or religious, could consecrate such unions 
as those we have referred to! Legalize them 
the " contract " or the priestly benediction may, 


but make them pure and holy, and free them 
from being adulterous in the sight of God 
never ! Yet ordained ministers of the Gospel, 
anointed priests of the Most High, lend their 
aid to bind such elements together. Notwith- 
standing the fiat of the law that marriage is 
here only a civil contract, and while Mr. 
Beecher hesitates not to say that he performs 
the ceremony merely as a civil magistrate, yet 
prayer and religious rites, even to the benedic- 
tion allowed by the church only to be pro- 
nounced by her ministry, are used when 
clergymen officiate. 

The Rev. Mr. Gallagher, a popular divine in 
the City of Churches, in an eloquent sermon 
upon "Our Father," a short time ago, openly 
avowed that he had joined those together whom 
God would have had remain asunder, had acted 
officially at marriages which he knew God neither 
sanctioned nor approved, and the consequences of 
which he felt sure would be disastrous. Now, 
that minister is 110 exception to the general cleri- 
cal rule, save in the matter of frankness. Is it 
not evident to every one that many such mock- 


marriges are performed by clergymen every day ? 
Marriages with which these very reverend gyve- 
fasteners know that God has nothing to do. And 
if man shall not put asunder what God has joined 
together, how shall it be with those whom He 
has not joined? Is the disciple above his Master 
in this matter ? and is the sanction of a man to 
outweigh and overrule that of God himself? 
For our part we believe what God has joined 
together man never can put asunder ; and as for 
what He has not joined the sooner it is loosed 
the better. 

But to our story. For two months the wolf 
Hunger was kept away from our friend's door, 
but the terrible amount of household labor, 
together with sewing, music-teaching, and the 
demands of a nursing infant, proved too much 
for her, and she rapidly failed in health. "What 
could be done? Everything that human ingenu- 
ity could devise had been tried. The old pul- 
monary complaint developed itself in a frightful 
manner. Sewing dragged. Hope failed. Faith 
in God's goodness grew dim. Orders were neg- 
lected. What in the world should she do, now 


that illness had overtaken her ? To whom should 
she turn ? The rent had been punctually paid ; 
now the chances were that she should no longer 
be able to keep a roof over her children's heads. 
What would become of her little ones ? Only a 
mother can realize the depth and intensity of 
this mother's anguish. The pittance brought in 
by the little boys every Saturday, and the small 
amount her sister was able to earn, had now to 
suffice.. This sum would not procure sufficient 
food for the family, to say nothing of rent, coal, 
wood, and the thousand and one expenses so 
necessary to the comfort of a household. " Why 
don't you write?" had more than once been 
asked her by friends anxious for her success. 
" It seems to me you possess the elements of a 
writer. Why don't you try ? " The knowledge 
that thousands of women in similar circum- 
stances had turned to literature as a last resort, 
and failed utterly, had deterred her from the 
attempt ; but now in the midst of this wreck, 
this confusion, this terrible heart-rending suffer- 
ing, came the knowledge that she must make one 
more trial before deserting the ship. 


Many a time had she, when a child, sat upon 
her father's knee, after a hard lesson in mathe- 
matics, and listened to a favorite song of his, 
sung on these occasions to comfort the little 
daughter so dear to him, and give her strength 
and " spunk," as he facetiously called it, to pur- 
sue her studies faithfully. Each verse ended 
with "Never give up the ship, boys! Never 
give up the ship ! " 

The idea of being driven into literature was 
terribly obnoxious, for she argued that it was 
impossible for any one smarting from the goad- 
ing lash of poverty supposing he or she pos- 
sessed of sufficient talent to attain a respecta- 
ble position among writers. One more trial 
must she endure before sufficient courage could 
be given her for the attempt. 

It was evening, cold and bleak. A failure to 
pay the gas-bill had resulted in a removal of the 
connection pipe, and so, by the light of a soli- 
tary candle, she prepared the scanty supper for 
her family. It consisted of bread and milk. The 
baby cried for want of proper nourishment, but 
bread and milk could not be partaken of by the 


mother if baby starved and died. So weak tea 
took the place of food, and hot tears rained 
down upon the little upturned face, whose won- 
dering expression seemed to say, " "What have I 
done that I must be starved in this strange man- 
ner ?" So without a murmer for the children 
well understood that their mother had strained 
every nerve to procure them food, and were 
heart-broken at her miserable appearance the 
little ones were tucked into bed. Their inno- 
cent petitions ascended to the throne of love 
and mercy, and childlike and simple though 
they were, we believe and know that they were 
heard and answered, and that speedily. Pre- 
cious little three-year-old having repeated " Now 
I lay me down to sleep," &c., and asked God to 
bless all his relations and acquaintances, ended 
with this extremely practical entreaty : " Make 
Josey a good little boy; and please, dear God, 
send Josey some more milk." 


1HE mother took the little fellow in her 
arms, pressed him to her heart, and 
vowed, then and there, that, in spite of 
ill-health, in spite of the terrible network of cir- 
cumstances wound about her, in spite of cold, 
hunger, and starvation, she would never "give 
up the ship " until she had reached a place where 
not only little Josey could have all the milk he 
desired, but where she herself should be able to 
say, " I have conquered ; I have secured hon- 
orable independence for myself and children." 
Never before had she been so completely bereft, 
and never before so profoundly certain of suc- 
cess. Go away illness ; go away repining. No 
more time to think of aches and troubles. But 
what shall she do ? Ay, what ? " Well, some- 
thing," she whispered to herself ; " and some- 
thing, too, that will pay." Just then the door- 


bell announced that some one friend or enemy 
desired to enter. Our friend had learned, 
from the bitterest experience, that a person to 
whom she owed a dollar was an enemy of the 
most unrelenting description; and although her 
debts were by no means numerous, yet a pull of 
the bell was sufficient to throw her into a state 
of nervous excitement impossible to describe. 
Only those who have had similar experiences can 
form the least idea of the soul travail consequent 
upon such terrible excitement. An exceedingly 
pleasant face met her as she opened the door, 
proving to be a gentleman who had visited the 
house on several occasions by her husband's in- 

" I have just heard," said he, " that you were 
in great trouble, and have called to express my 
sympathy, and see if I could not be of service to 
you and your little family." 

Her heart almost stopped beating with the joy 
of the moment. She knew he was a very wealthy 
and influential man ; and it was in his power to 
do her a great service if he chose ; and the kind 
expression lighting up the visitor's face gave de- 


cided assurance that lie intended to assist her in 
some way. " Oh ! " she thought, " if he will only 
help me to a position where I can support my- 
self, I shall soon be able to return the obliga- 
tion." After several questions in reference to 
her terrible condition, and a few well-timed as- 
surances of sympathy, he at last approached the 
errand which had brought him to our friend's 

" I have come to make you a proposition," he 
said. " You must have seen, on the few occa- 
sions I have dined at your house, that I not only 
admired you very much, but was quite capable 
of appreciating a woman of your calibre. I feel 
sure that you and I can come to terms without 
the least trouble." 

" Most likely," replied Nellie ; " for I am will- 
ing to do anything which will bring to myself 
and family an honorable maintenance. I am 
almost distracted with these wretched circum- 
stances and my fearfully unprotected position." 

" I understand and appreciate it, madam, and 
will protect and care for you with my life if 
necessary. You are in delicate health, and quite 


unfitted even for the ordinary ups and downs of 
this strange world. Let me tell you about my- 
self. I have a nice house in street, com- 
fortably furnished, and perfectly convenient. I 
am a married man, I suppose you know," he con- 
tinued, " but my wife has been an invalid for 
some years, and on this account my home is not 
so pleasant as it otherwise would be." 

"What could it mean?" she asked herself. 
He surely woi^ld not invite her to take charge 
of his establishment. So many children in the 
house with an invalid would never do, of course, 
and what could it be ? Her eyes must have ex- 
pressed wonderment, for he continued still in the 
same cool, business manner, 

" My dear lady, do not misunderstand me. I 
will educate your children exactly in accordance 
with your preferences. Everything, in fact, shall 
be as you wish it. You will be perfect mistress 
of your house and of your own actions, and once 
a week I shall have the pleasure of meeting 

A strange blindness came over Nellie's percep- 
tions. Looking at him with that vertical corru- 


gation of the brow and diminution of the pupils 
of the eye which indicate extreme bewilderment, 
she asked, 

" And why? What am I to do for all this? 
What equivalent am I expected to give you for 
so liberal a compensation ? " 

His face took a look of amaze at this ques- 

"Is it possible," he inquired, "that you still 
misunderstar.d my meaning? But surely you 
must comprehend me ; and to prove to you if 
your doubt lies in that direction that I actually 
mean business, I hereby beg leave to deposit with 
you five hundred dollars with which to make 
yourself and family comfortable until "- 

Quick as a flash the truant senses returned to 
our heroine, and with them furious indignation. 
As he laid the notes on her lap they were new 
notes, beautiful, fresh, and tempting! she took 
them between her fingers and twisted them until 
they came apart, then throwing them, in a storm 
of scorn and anger upon the floor, said, 

" I have put my children to bed hungry to- 
iiight, sir, and have scarcely tasted food for two 


days myself, and as far as the body is concerned 
am ready to perish. There lies the money with 
which you would tempt me to earn the wages 
of sin and shame ! Take it, and with it the 
recollection that you have met one woman who 
would a million times rather starve herself, and 
see her children drop dead at her feet, than be- 
come the victim of any man's lust. Take it, and 
leave my house this instant, and never dare show 
your villainous face to me again." 

Utterly crestfallen, he stooped to pick up the 
torn notes, and then, turning on his heel, without 
a word complied with her emphatic invitation, 
even to the last clause, for she never did see his 
face again. A day or two after, however, came 
a grocer's wagon to her door, with a supply of 
provisions sufficient to last for a considerable 
time ; and, though no name was sent with them, 
she felt sure that this man was the donor. The 
City Hall clock pealed out the hour of nine as 
her visitor departed. She closed the doors, and 
then looked her situation full in the face again. 
Had God quite forsaken her ? she asked herself. 
Had the good angels forgotten all about herself 


and dear ones ? Something must be done. The 
babies had sobbed themselves to sleep. Tear- 
drops still glistened on little Josey's cheek. She 
was so faint herself from long fasting that she 
could with difficulty lift baby, who refused to 
be comforted without another attempt to draw 
sustenance from the fount which never before 
had so entirely failed her. Her duty was now 
plain. The probabilities were, if she waited until 
morning before an effort was made to procure 
food she would be too ill to take further care of 
her family. So, with the moaning infant in her 
arms, she knocked at the door of a neighbor's 
house. Even then pride was mighty. How could 
she tell a human soul of her starving condition ? 
What though the neighbor was a friend one 
who had always appeared interested in every- 
thing concerning her this was begging, nothing 
else. As she stood waiting for the door to open 
memory went back to the funeral sermon 
preached at the burial of her father, when the 
minister had declared that the seed of the right- 
eous should never be forsaken, and yet here she 
was begging bread. What wonder, then, that 


the poor woman doubted that such a thing as 
justice ever existed; that she questioned all good- 
ness and mercy, and asked herself, as millions 
have before, what possible good such wretched- 
ness could accomplish. The door was opened 
by the lady herself. 

" Why, my dear," she inquired, " what is the 
matter? You are as pale as death; and the 
baby, too, out at this time of night! Why, 
child, what has happened? Has he got home?" 

Not a man, woman, or child in the neighbor- 
hood but detested the man our friend called 
husband, and the neighbors naturally concluded 
that this might probably account for her hag- 
gard appearance and evident distress. 

"No; I have not heard a word from that 
quarter," replied Nellie; "but my children are 
starving, and I am so weak from continued 
fasting that I can hardly stand. For Heaven's 
sake attend to us quickly, or we shall die ! " 

"Oh! how could you?" cried the neighbor. 
" My dear, how could you suffer so without tell- 
ing me ? You know I love you as one of my own 


If there happen to be any among my readers 
who know from experience what hunger is, they 
can appreciate the feelings of our friend, when 
she re-entered her own house supplied with an 
ample supper for her children. The two older 
ones were lying awake, growing boys with 
healthy appetites, who had gone supperless to bed 
after a day of scanty fare. Little Josey, whose 
patient suffering had so pierced his mother's 
heart, w T hen plaintively asking God for "some 
more milk," was waked from the sobbing sleep 
he had fallen into, and fed, as were all the rest, 
with good, nourishing food. Starvation was once 
more warded off. Now what should she do? 
She could not subsist on charity. " I will try and 
write something," she murmured softly to herself. 
" Who knows but I may succeed. Surely every 
avenue of honorable employment cannot be 
closed against me." All alone, in the still hours 
of night, by the light of a solitary flickering 
candle, she commenced her work. Eleven 
twelve one two three o'clock sounded out 
on the calm night, and still she wrote. ISTo sound 
was heard save the steady scratching of the pen, 


and the breathing of the sleeping little ones, 
which latter sound seemed to spur her more 
earnestly on. As a lover of music marches ani- 
matedly and in good time to the strains of martial 
melody, so did this anxious, earnest mother write 
to the music of her children's breathing. Four 
o'clock, and the manuscript was finished. Trem- 
bling with mingled hope and fear she read it 
carefully through, and then, tying it lovingly up 
with a piece of blue ribbon, laid it away and re- 
tired. The morning light found her dubious and 
almost hopeless. She was aware how hard it was 
for one not possessed of any literary reputation 
to sell anything. Nowhere as much as in the lit- 
erary world does the vulgar old saying hold good, 
" Get your name up, and you can lie in bed till 
noon." Equally applicable is the French proverb, 
(Test le premier pas qui coute. But she could 
not afford to be daunted by considerations like 
these. However forlorn the hope might be, it 
had the flavor of hope still, and her children must 
have bread. With a tremor in her heart, and 
yearning in her "scherin" eyes that doubtless had 


tlie force of a plea with the kind editor to whom 
she offered her story, she waited for his reply. 

" A story I see ? " said he, after a casual exam- 
ination, folding it up again. 

"Can you not read or have it read now? " she 
inquired. " I would so like to know about it." 

"Doubtless," he answered. "But I am just 
going away for the day, and shall not have a mo- 
ment until to-morrow morning; but let me tell 
you one thing, my dear woman, do not for mercy's 
sake be too hopeful in regard to its acceptance. 
"VVe are completely overrun with stories of this 
description. You have written before, I presume, 
and know all about these things." 

"No, sir," she moaned, trembling with the 
expected disappointment. " This is my first 

""Well, well, child," he interrupted, kindly, 
almost paternally; "do not borrow any trouble 
about it. Probably if it doesn't answer for us, 
it may for some one else. Come in to-morrow 
about this hour, and I will tell you all about 

None but those who have been through this 


trying ordeal of waiting can understand Nellie's 
feelings through the remainder of the day. 
She went on time the next morning, though, 
you may believe. The editor met her with a 
kind smile, and the manuscript in his hand. 
It had lost its blue ribbon, and it seemed 
to her invested with a new charm since its 
lodgment in the editor's desk. 

"Well!" said he, smiling; "what do you 
think about it?" 

"Oh, I don't know," replied his visitor, 
vainly trying to control herself. 

" It is wicked," said" he, " to keep you on the 
anxious-seat so long, my child. I have taken 
your story : it is a very good one, and there is 
nothing to hinder your making a good long 
mark in the world of letters. Here is your 
check; you can get it cashed at the desk." 

Desks, chairs, inkstands, papers, books, assist- 
ant-editors, and proof-readers went bobbing 
round for a moment in strange confusion. It 
required a pretty strong will-power to keep from 
fainting just then; but, as in previous instances, 
will conquered, and Nellie presented herself at 


the desk for her money, received the astonishing 
sum of thirty-live dollars, and went on her way 
rejoicing. There was not a prouder or happier 
woman in America than was she, as she pressed 
her precious darlings to her bosom, knowing that 
now she possessed the means within herself to 
ward off hunger from her little ones. Here, then, 
was proof that money was to be earned by story- 
writing. This door had not shut in her face, 
but had opened with frank promise and wel- 
come. She "was encouraged and happy. There 
were bread, clothing, and shelter for her dear 
ones within easy and honorable reach. She 
went on writing, with more or less success, until 
she had secured a welcome for her articles in 
several of the literary papers of the city. But 
now the chord, which had been stretched beyond 
its strength, threatened to break. It often hap- 
pens so. "While the full tension is on, the slender 
thread seems strong ; slacken it, and it shows 
how little there is left of it. It was so with our 
friend's physicial energy. Her overtaxed brain 
and nervous system revenged themselves the 
moment they had opportunity to do so. Brain 


fever supervened. For weeks the poor child lay 
helpless and suffering, happily unconscious how- 
ever, a part of the time, that she was no longer 
able to support her children. During this long 
struggle for the necessaries of life, our friend 
had had ample opportunity to test friendship. 
In a few instances she had found the precious 
gem, and finding, had valued and enjoyed it as 
every true woman must. She had waded 
through deep waters, had been subjected to per- 
secution and misconstruction, had added practice 
to her natural discrimination, and had come to 
judge accurately between the specious and the 
real, the false and the true. Now she was ill, 
and unable to provide for her family; and God, 
who never utterly forsakes his little ones, sent a 
friend to her relief. That friend was a man, 
and that man, strange as it may seem here, a 
Broad street broker, who, notwithstanding the 
din, bustle, and excitement consequent upon the 
rise and fall of stocks, had both time and dispo- 
sition to assist those in need of assistance. 
There was no love in the premises, save that 
tender and unselfish brotherly affection which 


every true man must feel for a delicate woman 
battling with the dreadful realities of life. 

When friendship does exist between a man 
and woman, the links are wonderfully strong. 
For weeks this friend ministered to the invalid, 
providing for every want, and assuming the 
whole responsibility of the family. No matter 
who he is ; you will find him any day in Broad 
street ; but his name is known to the angel who 
wrote "Ben Adhem" as "one who loved his 
fellow-men." Convalescence from this illness 
was slow but sure, and Nellie again found her- 
self able to use her pen. With no regular salary, 
dependent entirely upon the sale of the articles 
she was compelled to grind out each week, it 
was of course terribly up-hill work; and then, 
too, she found herself compelled to fight for 
every inch of the ground she travelled. And 
now another word upon the misconstruction to 
which pure and delicate-minded, yet natural and 
impetuous women are constantly subjected in 
their struggle for success in the business of life. 
The story of the pretty French girl, as told in 
" Packard's Monthly," raised a curious cry of op- 


position from the smaller f ry of the press. " It 
was ridiculous," they declared. "Very clearly 
impossible ! " " No editor, or respectable man of 
any profession, would ever insult and take ad- 
vantage of a young woman in that way, if her 
own conduct did not furnish him an invitation to 
do so. Thousands of women," they persisted, 
" went daily in and out of newspaper offices, 
transacting their business with as much freedom 
as men, and were treated, in fact, with more res- 
pect and deference than men could be." In the 
majority of instances this is undoubtedly the 
case. It is no part of our purpose to slander the 
profession of literature in the person of the 
preux chevaliers who have adopted it. And 
yet not only is the French girl's story true, but 
many another like it might be told by women 
whose very unconsciousness of evil has led them 
to treat the betes noirs of the profession with 
a naturalness and spontaneity of manner that 
such natures can never understand. The idea 
that the treatment women receive at the hands 
of men depends exclusively on their own deport- 
ment is also encouraged by some women. Not 


long ago I had the pleasure of listening to a con- 
versation between a well-known dramatist and 
litterateur, and an equally well-known poetess of 
New York City. 

Said the former: "I see no need of women 
raising this outcry in regard to insult. For my 
part, I have never met with any such trouble. 
I can always command respect, because I am 
always myself, and know how to assert myself. 
Misconstruction ? Heigho ! That is all non- 

" In your case perhaps it is," - replied her 
witty companion, flushing crimson to the very 
roots of her hair. "There are those, most cer- 
tainly, whom the obtusest of the obtuse could 
not in any manner misconstrue. They invite 
freedom and receive it make no fuss about 
it, because it is the diet they are accustomed 
to ; and these are the very women who cry out 
the loudest against their own sex. These are 
the women who make men bad, and keep them 
bad. My experience has been not at all like 
yours. I have self-respect, but have not found 
that my mere presence was always a sufficient 


assertion of it. In fact," doubling tip her litfle 
hand and extending it towards her interlocutor, 
" I have on two or three occasions in my life, aa 
a writer, been obliged to aid the logic of that 
presence with the more irresistible and compre- 
hensible logic of this fist." 

These are hard facts, but facts nevertheless. 
Sometimes I have reasoned with myself after 
this wise : This dreadful condition of tilings is 
consequent upon the violation of some law. At 
a fire at sea, in a gale of wind, or any extraor- 
dinary occurrence where the courage and good 
behavior of men need to be exhibited, it often 
happens that they fall far short of the manly, to 
say nothing of the heroic work. Conflagrations 
and earthquakes are out of the natural order of 
things ; and so, it seems to me, is the war which 
women are compelled to wage for their bread 
and butter ; and this may account for the strange 
conduct of some business men towards women 
compelled to labor. It is not what they have 
been taught to consider the original plan, and so 
they fail to appreciate the motives which drive 
women into counting-rooms and printing-offices. 


To me there is something terribly out of joint in 
the idea of a woman's hand-to-hand tussle with 
business. It seems quite enough for women to 
bear the children of the world, and educate them 
for positions of trust and responsibility ; and the 
mother of a family will find but little time for 
business details if she attend carefully and con- 
scientiously to her household. Wifehood and 
motherhood will not prevent literary pursuits. 
On the contrary, women who write because they 
love to write, and on this account cannot help 
writing, invariably write well. In fact, as every 
human being, man or woman, instinctively feels, 
there is something about woman that utterly 
unfits her for this rough-and-tumble life. It 
seems to me that God could never have intended 
that she should be the bread-winner. Her minis- 
try is not in the outer courts of the temple, but 
belongs rather to the Holy of the Holies. We 
speak here of things as they ought to be, not as 
they are. Woman's best right, after all is said 
and done, is the right to a good husband ; and 
the truer this doctrine is, the more it will be ap- 
parent to every acute mind that she can be con- 


tent with nothing short of that consummation. 
"With a half-way good husband she has only half 
her rights, and with a bad one she is in the con- 
dition of an utter slave. Knowing that she has 
the natural right to a protecter and provider, if, 
in order to secure moral and physical safety to 
herself and her children, she finds it necessary to 
leave the man whose name she bears, must she 
not find the struggle for bread unnatural and 
repugnant, and must she not become unnerved, 
shattered, rasped ready in any moments of 
anguish to lie down and die from sheer exhaus- 
tion and discouragement ? There are, of course, 
some women who possess to a certain degree 
masculine traits; but we are speaking only of 
those whose womanhood is most perfect. I will 
venture to say that there cannot be found one 
woman in ten who earns her living away from 
home and home loves, who will say that such a 
life is desirable. I have talked with hosts of 

" My dear," I have said to more than one poor 
struggling soul, " what of all things here below 


would you most prefer, provided your wish could 
be granted?" 

The invariable answer is, while tears will fill 
the tired eyes : " Oh, somebody to love me and 
take care of me." 

Mark well, oh ye who declare that woman's 
happiness can be complete without conjugal love 


comes from no desire to shirk work, but because 
they feel the utter uncongeniality of their em- 

Notwithstanding all this, the dreadful know- 
ledge stares us in the face that woman must 
labor must, like her brother, earn her living by 
the sweat of her brow. There is no way of 
evading it. Would to God there were ! and that 
they could fill the positions which, from the 
duties expected of them, they seem best fitted 
for. Would that every true woman's heart could 
be filled to the brim with good, honest love. 
What a glorious world this would be to live in 
then ! Now, while I conscientiously believe that 
every woman pushed into the world to toil in the 
same pursuits as man (I say nothing of the hun- 


dred in every thousand who enjoy such elbow- 
ing) is really out of her sphere. I realize also 
that this cannot be prevented, and that protection 
by law is the just due of such. If women must 
work, and in order to accomplish a given result, 
must labor twice as assiduously as their brothers, 
then surely there is no justice in any law which 
deprives them of a single one of their rights. 

Up to this time our friend had never seen Miss 
Anthony that earnest, ardent, and most devoted 
champion of woman's political rights. She had 
become greatly interested in her manner of put- 
ting things, although unable to believe, as does 
this good woman, that men and women stand 
upon the same intellectual platform. She had 
noticed that girls with the same advantages, edu- 
cational and other, as boys, spent a large part of 
their leisure time playing with dolls, and talking 
to the minature representations of the beauty and 
splendor of their mythical "papa;" that while 
boys sometimes stopped from their game of ball 
or tag to tap a pretty girl under the chin, or 
mend her hoop, they would again resume the 
game, utterly oblivious that said little girl, very 


likely, stood in the same spot expecting another 
similar demonstration. She had also seen that 
in anything requiring severe analytical study, 
boys were, as the rule, ahead, while in music, 
composition, rhetoric and the like, girls were 
quite up to the mark; and realized from this 
general and especial observation that women, if 
they live at all as they desire, must live in the 
affection al, and that women by nature are more 
tender and considerate than men. 

Our friend finally concluded to call upon 
this defender of women, Miss Susan B. An- 
thony, and judge for herself of her charac- 

Miss Anthony was engaged, but would be at 
liberty presently. So, with a natural feeling 
of awe, Nellie seated herself to wait. Imagin- 
ation pictured a loud-voiced, unprepossessing 
Abigail of masculine proportions and warlike 
demeanor, whose hands were fists and whose 
feet extended themselves involuntarily when- 
ever a man approached ; so that when the door 
of an inner office opened, and a pleasant-faced 
womanly woman appeared, she cast down her 


eyes again and prepared to wait a little longer. 
A pair of eye-glasses were raised to the mild, 
gray orbs, our friend surveyed for a moment 
doubtingly (Miss A. lias not the happy faculty 
of remembering faces), and then, while a friend- 
ly smile lit up her features, Susan advanced to 
where the stranger sat. 

" Did you wish to see me, madam ? " she in- 
quired hastily, and with a preoccupied air. Evi- 
dently the " Revolution " was behind time. 

"I am waiting for Miss Anthony," replied 

" "Well, I am that individual," she answered. 
"You have probably seen some newspaper des- 
cription of me, and so failed to recognize. You 
must never form your opinion of any public 
character by report, cartoon, or editorial. They 
don't treat us well at all. But what is the matter 
with you? You look as though you had been 
crying steadily for the last six months." 

Nellie smiled a little sadly, but said nothing. 
The revolutionary veteran continued : " Now, my 
dear woman, this is all wrong. Women never 
will accomplish anything until they stop crying. 


I don't know why it is, but they seem to consider 
tears a badge of honor, and their duty, as well 
as privilege, to boo-hoo on all occasions. Men 
never cry ! Just imagine a man sitting down 
and weeping because some little screw in his life- 
machinery is loose. Do you think if he did a 
man would stop to help him fix it ? No, indeed ! 
I tell you, with less brine there would be more 
common-sense exhibited." 

"Yes, Miss Anthony, very true," replied our 
friend. " But some women have great excuse for 
tears : I have had." 

" Great cause for sorrow, no doubt ; but until 
women learn to restrain emotion they will always 
be in the condition of slaves. If a woman is 
unhappy in her domestic relations, crying doesn't 
help it. On the contrary, it ruins her eyesight, 
breaks her constitution, causing her to grow pre- 
maturely old ; and when the time comes for that 
woman to go out into the world and scratch for 
herself and children, as many are compelled to, 
it finds her shattered and unnerved, in no con- 
dition to stand up and fight for her rights, as they 
all have to when brought into competition with 


men of business. You are earning your own 
living, I suppose ? " 

" Yes, madam ; my own living and that of my 

" I thought so," she replied. " The same old 
story. I wish it was in my power to help sub- 
stantially the hosts of suffering women I am 
thrown in contact with every day of my life, but 
all I can say is, do the best you can. By and by, 
the ballot will straighten out things. Take my 
advice, now : don't let fall another tear ! " 

This was but the first of many very pleasant 
interviews that our friend enjoyed with Susan B. 
Anthony. Here, too, she became acquainted 
with Mrs. Stanton, that genial, lovable person 
whom all admire, even though they may differ 
seriously from her in opinion. The sight of these 
two women working together for the same great 
cause sufficiently illustrates the difference be- 
tween unison and harmony. Miss Anthony, in- 
tensely energetic and abstracted, pleads for her 
sex from a point beyond mere feminine sympa- 
thy ; while Mrs. Stanton is all woman, and every 
word she speaks comes out of a heart conscious 


of its needs as a woman, while in her own person 
she is an exemplification of true wifehood and 
motherhood. From her our friend always felt- 
sure of winning that full measure of sympathy 
and appreciation, that toleration of female weak- 
ness and heart-want, which the masses strangely 
enough consider prominent women incapable of 

Up to this time not a single word had been 
heard from the unnatural husband and father. 
He might be dead his relatives argued ; but Nel- 
lie, although willing to place the most favorable 
construction possible on his silence and absence, 
felt confident that he was alive, and that lie 
would be sure at some future time to pounce 
down upon her, disturbing the peace and inde- 
pendence so recently found. She tried to con- 
vince herself she was no longer his wife ; that his 
brutal conduct and subsequent desertion had 
effectually divorced her ; but there was the terri- 
ble legality of the marriage staring her in the 
face. In her agony lest he might at any time 
return, and, acting .upon her refusal to live with 
him again as his wife, snatch the children from 


her, she consulted an eminent !N"ew-York lawyer 
to see what action had best be taken in the 

The honorable gentleman heard her through, 
and then remarked, while his face flushed with 

" It is a cruel shame that a divorce cannot be 
granted in this eminently virtuous State for the 
causes you describe; but unless you can prove 
that scamp guilty of adultery I can do nothing 
for you, except to assist you in procuring a sepa- 
ration a mensa &t thoro which, as a friend, I 
would advise you not to apply for. If wary and 
patient, you may succeed in procuring a divorce, a 
mnculo" And then followed advice in reference 
to watching the individual, and if not successful 
in such espionage, to finding some one capable of 
luring him into the haunts of vice, from which 
counsel oar friend recoiled in horror, as must 
every honest, high-minded woman. 

The days wore on. A year flew rapidly by. 
On account of her inability to furnish her apart- 
ments as her position now demanded, and hav- 
ing, with the incessant labor of her new profes- 


sion, little time for the details of housekeeping, 
Nellie procured board for herself and family, 
and gave her attention exclusively to literature. 

One day, while busily engaged in her work, a 
servant entered, and informed her that a gentle- 
man awaited her in the parlor. 

" What name did he give?" inquired Nellie. 

" Oh, none, ma'am," replied the waitress. 
"Sure and I asked him; but he said 'twas no 
matter; you'd know when you got there." 

She sprang to her feet with a sudden convic- 
tion. It was her " clog " returned to annoy her. 
No other man would ever have sent so insulting 
a message. She opened the parlor door, pale and 
trembling. Sure enough, there he sat, coolly en- 
sconsed in the corner of a sofa. As though he 
had parted from her but yesterday, he arose, ex- 
tended his hand, saying, while a devilish smile 
played around his mouth, 

"How are you, dnckey? You look as pretty as 
a pink ! " 

" I am very well, sir," she responded, stiffly. 
"But to what unforseen circumstance am I in- 
debted for this visit ?" 


"Nonsense, Nellie! Don't go to getting sar- 
castic, for you know I never could stand that! 
and don't get excited about tines. Why, I de- 
clare, you have grown fleshy, and pretty too! 
You've a nice snug place here. Been boarding 

" About six months," she replied. 

"What did you give up housekeeping for?" 
was the next query. 

"Because, after your sale and destruction of 
household articles, I had nothing to keep house 

" Where are the children ? I expect the baby 
has grown to be quite a girl." 

The two youngest were called, and after being 
taken on his knee for a single moment, were dis- 
missed with the remark, 

" Now run away ; I want to talk to mamma." 

No sooner had they gone than he turned to 
Nellie, and with a proprietor's air, said, 

" Where is our room, duckey ? I am as tired 
as the- ." 

" OUR room ! My room is upstairs, sir ! " she 
answered, with bursting indignation. " You have 


no place in this house, and never will have in 
any house that I occupy. I have done with you 

"Done with me forever? That's a rich joke !" 
and the wretch burst into a paroxysm of laughter. 
"Why, the little woman has been a widow so 
long, she really believes she is her own mistress. 
Have you quite forgotten, then, that we stood up 
before a minister, once on a time, and you prom- 
ised to love, honor, and obey to take for better 
or for worse, until death did us part this indi- 
vidual who stands before you? Ay! duckey, 
I have got you now ! Come, no more airs. Show 
a fellow where you live. Upon my word, you 
haven't the slightest idea how tired I am." 

" Neither do I care, sir," and the slight form 
was straightened to its utmost dignity. "And 
have the kindness to leave the house im- 
mediately. I am supporting myself and chil- 
dren, and especially request that you will in the 
future, as you have in the past year, let me and 
mine alone. I promise that you shall never be 
annoyed by me, under any circumstances, except, 


indeed, it be in the matter of divorce, which I 
intend at some time to procure." 

Checkmated! That he thoroughly realized. 
For a moment he stood as if petrified ; then his 
rage burst forth in a perfect volley of curses. 

" Well ! " he exclaimed, " if you try that game, 

I'll take every young one you've got away 

from you ! I wonder how my lady will relish 

" Take them if you can ! " replied the intense 
little woman. " Notwithstanding, I am your 
legal wife, and you are the legal father of these 
children, I do not believe there can be found a 
court of justice, in the length and breadth of the 
land, that would give you the custody of them. 
Might makes right, in almost every instance, 
and I have proved myself capable of taking 
care of them which you never have! and I 
shouldn't be afraid to trust the decision of 
any so-called honorable body. So try it, and 
I will fight you to the last gasp, and keep 
my children too." 

A few moments after our ci-devant lord and 
master left the house, having been afforded a 


fine opportunity for reflection. He was now, 
as may be imagined, at his wits' ends ! Out of 
business, out of clothes, penniless, and deter- 
mined not to work unless the employment ex- 
actly suited his fastidious taste, the gentleman 
was sadly in need of a home, and a wife to 
support him, which, strange to relate, our 
friend couldn't be made to feel her duty For 
some time he kept exceedingly quiet, annoying 
her only by letters, in each of which he expressed 
his penitence for past misdeeds eloquently im- 
ploring mercy, in no instance forgetting to 
state that he was entirely out of money ; to all of 
which appeals she turned a deaf ear. For " con- 
duct " unbecoming a mason," he had been ex- 
pelled from his lodge, and now sought favor 
again in he eyes of his brethern. By means 
of tears, and promises of reform, he worked 
upon their manly sympathy to the extent of 
persuading them to act as his ambassadors. 
Upon no account would our friend be tempted 
into saying or thinking an unkind thought of the 
fraternity of which he was once an honored mem- 
ber. Notwithstanding his expulsion, many of the 


members of the lodge personally sympathized 
with and aided her by advice, promises of pro- 
tection, and in one or two instances, pecuniarily. 
'They could not tolerate him in their society; 
she could not live with him as her husband : so 
far the lodge and herself were in sympathy. 
Committees of masons were appointed to visit 
her, and endeavor to induce her to welcome the 
prodigal. On one of these occasions, after hav- 
ing explained to her their ideas of the duties of 
the case, and laid before her, in eloquent terms, 
the immense responsibility devolving upon her 
as a wife and mother, she made answer, 

" Gentleman, as God lives, I have faithfully 
performed my part of the marriage contract. 
Because I was a wife, and believed in the 
sacredness of my wifely compact, I bore pa- 
tiently every description of abuse possible to 
conceive of torture so terrible, gentlemen, that 
words would fail to describe it. Desertion he 
then added to the list of horrors, and for one 
year was not heard from. During a portion of 
that year my children have been hungry and 
cold, suffering for the commonest necessaries of 


life. Through the keenest physical and mental 
anguish, by God's help and my own determina- 
tion, I have conquered circumstances, and find 
myself thoroughly competent to support my 
little family ; and now, having reached this sat- 
isfactory position, you ask me to take again to 
my bosom a man who has never been to me any- 
thing but a brute, a man who left his wife and 
children to starve and die. Have you restored 
him to full fellowship in your lodge ? " 

" Oh, no ! " one of them replied. " Such fin ac- 
tion would be in direct disobedience to the rules 
of our order. It is possible he may be reinstated 
at some future time, at least we hope so. It 
depends entirely upon his subsequent conduct. 
The cases are not analogous at all." 

" Perhaps not," replied Nellie; "but it amounts 
to just this : You naturally distrust his protesta- 
tions of reform, and find yourselves unable and 
unwilling to restore him to the privileges of your 
order ; but you would fain convince me that it is 
my duty to bring this man into the most intimate 
and sacred of human relations. Gentlemen, I 
fail to see the logic of your argument." 


After this last turning of the tables, as may be 
imagined, there were no more committees o 
masons appointed to visit her. Failing to accom- 
plish his purpose by this means, he suddenly fell 
to making profesfsions of religion, and thus en- 
listed the sympathies of prominent ministers of 
the gospel every one of whom Nellie in turn 

"Your husband appears very fond of you," 
said one of those divines, " and seems to dote on 
his children." 

" Yes," replied Nellie, a little sarcastically, it 
must be confessed, "his past conduct has fully 
demonstrated the depth and intensity of his affec- 
tion for both wife and children." 

" But, my friend, can you not allow bygones to 
be bygones ? Can you not, for the sake of future 
happiness, forgive and forget ? " 

" That is precisely what I am trying to do, if 
his friends will only allow me. I can bury the 
man, and his misdeeds, beyond all possibility of 

" But, madam, you are his wife, his wife in 
the sight of God." 


"That, sir, I deny. To my shame, I am obliged 
to confess myself his legal partner ; but, in 
God's sight I am no more his wife than I am 
yours, nor so much, for between us there may 
be some bond of sympathy." 

As may be inferred, the parson was somewhat 
shocked, and entered his most solemn protest. 

" Do not, I beseech you, my dear madam, allow 
yourself to be inoculated with the loose ideas at 
present prevailing in reference to marriage. The 
past has probably been bitter ; but it is a wife's 
duty to forgive everything, and to be ready to 
believe anything. You should remember your 
sacred promise keep it constantly before you 
to love, honor, and obey until death." 

" Sir," said Nellie, " you know nothing what- 
ever of this man ; nothing of me, except what 
he has chosen to represent. You have come 
armed with all the panoply of your profession, 
eloquent with texts of scripture, wrested to suit 
my peculiar case ; but all this can make no im- 
pression upon me. My heart has cicatrized at 
last, and can no longer feel any sense of especial 
duty towards the man whose cause you are 


pleading, unless indeed it jbe the duty I owe 
myself and children of letting him gloriously 
alone. My dear sir, I would have you answer 
me one question. What is a wife ? Taking you 
on your probable answer that it is a woman who 
has publicly promised to love, honor, and obey a 
man until death should part them twain, I 
would again ask, Can a woman keep this prom- 
ise unconditionally? Are love and honor and 
obedience still due a man who has himself vio- 
lated every promise of his own ; who abuses, con- 
taminates, insults, fails to provide for, and finally 
forsakes the woman he has promised to love and 
cherish ? and is marriage then a mere physical 
bond perfectly consistent with hatred and disgust ? 
Am I the wife of that man ? Has not every law 
of right already divorced us ; and would not 
any sanction the law might give to such divorce 
be a mere form the mere opening of a wooden 
door ? So it seems to me, sir ; and all the argu- 
ment that the combined force of all creation could 
bring to bear on this subject would not move me 
a hairVbreath." 

" Then, I suppose, it is no use for me to say 


any more ; but I do beseech of you to be careful. 
You are still young and comely love may be 
offered you, Mrs. - . I have no doubt but it 
will be so. Oh, madam, I shudder to think of 
it ! " and the agitated parson wrung his hands in 
bitterness of spirit. 

" If love is offered me, real, genuine love," 
replied Nellie, who could with difficulty suppress 
a roar, " I have an indistinct sort of an idea that 
I shall accept it, and be wonderfully thankful 
therefor. Love, you know, to use your own 
weapons (scripture weapons), is but l a fulfilling 
of the law ; ' ' love worketh no ill to its neighbor,' 
etc. I should be basely forgetful of first princi- 
ples did I reject the inestimable gift. I have 
never yet loved, never seen the man to whom 
my heart can bow down in homage, saying, ' You 
are my conqueror.' Four years of practical wid- 
owhood, during which the most intense stretch 
of every faculty has been an e very-day cxperi- 
rience, during which, day by day, and week by 
week, the cry. of my children for bread must be 
met and answered, left me but little time to think 
either of w r hat ' might have been,' or ( might yet 


be ;' and yet I possess a woman's dearest needs 
and intensest yearnings. I believe, with Miss 
Diana Mulock, that most conservative of con- 
servatives, who, like all poets, speak the truth 
in spite of themselves, that 

' Duty's a slave that holds the keys, 
But love, the master, goes in and out 
Of his goodly chambers, with song and shout 
Just as he please just as he please. ' " 

It is needless to say that after this the clergyman 
took his leave. 

To this day our friend has remained firm in 
her determination. Living with her all these 
years of struggle and heart-ache opened my soul 
to the terrible woes which a large class of women 
endure at the hands of the law, and gave me 
strength and courage to cry out with all my 
woman's might against its terrible injustice. At 
this time, when my head was bowed almost to the 
earth with affliction, the heroine of " Up Broad- 
way " was strangely thrown in my path, and with 
her consent, and that of her husband, I deter-' 
mined to give the story to the world. 

There is another thing which it will be well 


to take into consideration before leaving this 
subject. Woman, whether made to be loved or 
not, no one will deny is made to love. One of 
the arguments used by men against her occupy- 
ing certain places requiring intellectual strength, 
is that she is made to live in the affections. So 
she is. The woman who becomes too sorrowful, 
or too hardened by any experience, to love, is 
wanting in the distinctive womanly attributes 
given her by God. Suppose now the deluded, 
cheated, abused, disgusted wife, whose nature is 
none the less loving because of her sorrow, and 
certainly needing love all the more, meets some 
man who would be to her, strength and happi- 
ness; and suppose they mutually love. Such 
things have been. Is she for what was her dire 
misfortune to be doubly punished, and doomed 
to be legally bound to the man who has kept 
not one of the vows of his marriage bond ? Is 
it just that his cruelty, drunkenness, or desertion 
should go for nothing in the eye of the law, and 
she be obliged to have his secret footsteps 
dogged to prove him adulterous? Or suppose 
another case : A good man has a termagant 


wife : his home is made wretched with her vixen- 
ish disposition, till he is glad to seek refuge from 
her sight in club, lodge, or bar-room. Even the 
gambler's hell is often less infernal than a man's 
house. Why should he, in order to be legally 
free from the thorn in his side, be able not only 
to "prove her unbearable in temper, but unclean 
in morals ? The law will grant a separation ; 
why, then, not a divorce ? "Will you answer 
because the law of God says for this cause (adul- 
tery) alone? Do yon pretend that the divorce 
law of the State of New York is founded on 
divine law ? "Where, then, do you find in Holy 
"Writ, that an offence which sends a man to 
State's prison is adulterous ? but that is legal 
ground for divorce. Where do you find that 
desertion for seven years is adulterous ? yet that 
is also legal ground for divorce. Does it not 
seem that these laws of a State made by men, 
were fashioned by them to suit their own con- 
science, and then salted a little with scripture to 
season them ? Do not say it is as hard upon man 
as woman. It is not so. A man may leave his 
loving or unloving spouse, and so long as he does 


not openly outrage any of the social proprieties, 
no disgrace attaches to him. Let a woman 
leave the man who maltreats her, and in nine 
cases out of ten, she must henceforth walk more 
than widowed. At once she is regarded with 
suspicion. The widow may enter freely into 
society, but the deserting or the deserted wife, 
whether in the house or by the way, must guard 
every look, word, and action. She is in constant 
danger, in the most innocent of her actions, of 
compromising herself. She has no liberties ; she 
never is her " own mistress." Every gossip and 
scandal-monger has a right to watch and criti- 
cize her movements. In many communities a 
woman is almost as much disgraced by the fact 
of having parted from her husband, as she would 
be if she had committed a crime. It is always 
hard for her to obtain respectable employment. 
Of course, the better educated and more enlight- 
ened the community, the less likely it would be 
to take this view ; but even the best are apt to 
look with a slight degree of suspicion upon such, 
and receive her demands for acceptance and 
appreciation with a grain of social salt. And if 


she dares accept friendship and sympathy from 
any man, what an object of interest she at once 
becomes to Mrs. Grundy! 

"We would not for the world that any change 
should be made that we did not in our heart of 
hearts believe would be for the best good of 
society. The outcry that has of late been made, 
of danger to public morals, as the result of any 
change in the strictest marriage laws, is in our 
opinion quite gratuitous. Don Quixote will 
always be ready to fight wind-mills ; but the free 
winds of heaven will not be constrained by the 
arm of any old fogy, whether individual or col- 
lective. We do not believe that any permanent 
evil could possibly result from an amelioration of 
the laws of divorce, as they exist on the statute- 
books of the State of New York. Is Connec- 
ticut any less moral than other States ? and yet 
the divorce laws there are far less rigid than 
those of any Eastern State ; exceeded in liberal- 
ity by none in the Union, except those of Indi- 
ana. Of course, in both these States, there are 
more divorces than in any others, and why? 
Simply because the laws of other States are so 


rigid as to induce many outsiders to flock 
thither : just as the Southern slaves used to flee to 
Canada for freedom. Since the emancipation of 
slavery that hegira has stopped; and so would 
the hegira of men and women to Indiana in 
search of freedom from hateful marriage bonds, 
if the laws of other states were framed upon the 
liberal principles which govern these. Out of 
the abundance of the heart the author has written 
the preceding pages. That they may arouse 
good men and women to the injustice so potent 
to all who will think, is her fervent desire. God 
grant it ! 




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